There’s nothing revolutionary about ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’

If you’re willing to overlook “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” — as most moviegoers did — Charlie Hunnam is growing into one of the savviest actors in Hollywood.

Not only was he wise enough to bail on the “Fifty Shades” franchise after being cast as Christian Grey, he took on the lead role in a remake of “Papillon” that just happened to conflict with the filming of “Pacific Rim Uprising,” thereby extricating himself from the noisy, joyless sequel.

So just how dull is the follow-up to 2013’s robots-fighting-monsters mayhem, which replaces “The Shape of Water” Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro in the director’s chair with Steven S. DeKnight, who created the “Spartacus” TV series and more recently served as a consultant on a web series called “Travel Boobs”?

The guy sitting in front of me smelled like he’d just been pulled from the rubble of an explosion at a Drakkar Noir factory. Yet, after the initial waves of nausea passed, choking back the tears became a welcome diversion.

“Uprising” kicks off with a look at post-“Pacific Rim” Los Angeles. It’s been 10 years, and while most of the world has recovered, the coastal cities remain a mess. Jake Pentecost (John Boyega, the “Star Wars” sequels’ Finn), the son of “Pacific Rim’s” legendary Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), wants nothing to do with piloting Jaegers, the massive robots designed to fight the beastly Kaiju. Instead, he’s busy partying, squatting in an abandoned L.A. mansion, and I swear I saw him trade an Oscar for a box of cereal.

But when he’s arrested during his day job — stealing Jaeger parts to sell on the black market — alongside 15-year-old mechanic Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny), Jake is given a choice: Go to prison, or return to China’s Moyulan Shatterdome and train Amara alongside the next generation of Jaeger pilots.

Upon their arrival, Amara immediately starts fangirling over the various Jaegers. “That’s Titan Redeemer! Saber Athena! I love Saber Athena!”


The only reason there’s a “Pacific Rim Uprising” is because of how well “Pacific Rim” performed internationally. And that was a seemingly calculated move by del Toro, who had the heroic Jaegers, and their pilots, hail from America, China, Russia and Australia.

“Uprising” further broadens its demographic base by adding teens from around the world. The result — written by DeKnight, Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder and the “Maze Runner” trilogy’s T.S. Nowlin — feels less like a script than a compilation of marketing research. What’s next for the franchise? Throw in some scrappy seniors? Maybe, like Preston Rhinelander (Robert Mitchum) in “Scrooged,” producers could look for a way to appeal to cats.

Also, and I’ve said this so often it probably will appear on my tombstone, teens simply don’t function well alongside adults in action movies.

Take the scene when Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), the leader of the cadet training program, interrupts a fight between Amara and the young Russian, Vik (Ivanna Sakhno).

Amara: “She jumped me!”

Vik: “She doesn’t belong here!”

Nate: “I don’t care!”

Join the club, pal.

Despite their animosity, things function pretty well until an attack by a rogue Jaeger levels a wide swath of Sydney, robots fight robots, and suddenly it’s “Transformers 2035.”

Eventually the Kaiju return and lay waste to the Japanese capital. Finally, a movie where giant monsters attack Tokyo!

The Jaegers retaliate by pulling skyscrapers down on top of the Kaiju. At one point, a Jaeger plants its foot on the side of a high-rise, using it to launch itself at a Kaiju and leveling the building in the process. Now that’s just wasteful.

The one positive takeaway from “Uprising” is that Boyega has definite leading man potential outside the “Star Wars” universe. As for his highest-billed co-star, though, we’re four years into the Scott Eastwood Experiment, and it just isn’t working.

The duo spend much of their time together controlling their Jaeger via a treadmill like some futuristic cardio alternative to SoulCycle.

But it’s an apt metaphor for “Pacific Rim Uprising”: There’s just far too much running in place.


Movie: “Pacific Rim Uprising”

Running time: 110 minutes

Rating: PG-13; sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language

Grade: C-

Now playing: At multiple locations

Contact Christopher Lawrence at or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
This boozy milkshake is big enough to share with seven of your best friends
Fiddlestix makes an "8 Man Milkshake" that's packed with alcohol. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five Chris Stapleton songs you need to hear
D. Michael Evola opened E-String to make New York style pizza
Shamrock Macarons at Morels at Palazzo
Zuma serves a sushi roll topped with 24-karat gold
La Cirque covers their quail and foie gras in real gold
Jean-Georges Steakhouse seves chocolate gold bars
3 ways you can eat gold in Las Vegas
Artist Kathleen Nathan On The Virtues Of Library Galleries
The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s art galleries offers artists a more relaxed vibe for showing their work. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada SPCA Competes In Tournament Of Tails
The NSPCA and its mascot cat, Prince, are competing in an online voting challenge for a $5,000 grand prize.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Eureka's cocktail comes with a "buzz button" that will shock your taste buds
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed Deadline reports that New Line has purchased Chase and Lawrence Konner’s screenplay for their “Sopranos” prequel film. The working title for the prequel is “The Many Saints of Newark.” Chase created the HBO series, which ran for six seasons, and Konner served as a writer. “The Many Saints of Newark” is set during the 1960s riots in the New Jersey city between the African-American and Italian communities. Multiple characters from the series, albeit younger versions, are expected to star in the film. The Sopranos won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards during its run.
The Big Bounce America is coming to the Las Vegas Valley
The Big Bounce America. (Courtesy Big Bounce America)
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History According to The Hollywood Reporter, 26.5 million watched the Oscars, a 20 percent drop from last year. The 26.5 million viewers would be an all-time low for the Oscars. Overnight returns had the lengthy ABC telecast averaging a 18.9 rating among households between 8 and 11 p.m. ET. Last year, 32.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the ceremony. The previous low for viewership was 32 million viewers in 2008 when Jon Stewart was host. The Shape of Water picked up an award for Best Picture, while Gary Oldman and Frances McDormand won Best Actor and Actress, respectively.
March First Friday theme is “Think”
First Friday art, culture, music and food event takes place on the first Friday of every month in and around the studios and galleries of the Arts District in downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon)
Cirque’s One Night for One Drop gets ready for the big night
Cirque du Soleil’s “One Night for One Drop” performed a dress rehearsal for the annual benefit show. This year’s show at Mandalay Bay is based on the life of singer-songwriter Jewel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The Kosher Experience provides kosher foods to Las Vegas families
2018-19 Broadway Las Vegas at The Smith Center
Ten touring productions are on The Smith Center’s 2018-19 Broadway Las Vegas season schedule. (The Smith Center)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like