‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ or ‘Transformers 6’?

 “Pacific Rim Uprising” is in theaters now.(screenshot/Pacific Rim Uprising)

“Pacific Rim Uprising” is in theaters now.(screenshot/Pacific Rim Uprising)

The action sequences in the newest science fiction film “Pacific Rim Uprising” seem like they’re taken straight from the set of Michael Bay’s “Transformers” series. This time, just replace the evil robots with alien lizard-like creatures. This sequel of the 2013 film “Pacific Rim” doesn’t have a hint of originality in its storyline or massive battles. Thankfully, an inspiring performance by the film’s only star, Jon Boyega, as well as humorous dialogue between the characters made the film less bad than it could have been.

Since the original movie “Pacific Rim” was relatively unsuccessful in theaters across the United States, it’s hard not to question the motive behind making a sequel. Only one of the actors from the original film even returned for the sequel. The main character Stacker Pentacost also never mentioned having a son. Nevertheless in “Pacific Rim Uprising” we find ourselves following the journey of Jake Pentacost, played by Jon Boyega, the mischievous and stubborn son of the slain war hero.

In the original film, Earth was at war with an alien race known as the Kaiju. To battle against these giant creatures, humans constructed transformer-like battle machines called Jaegers. Stacker Pentacost was a legendary Jaeger pilot who sacrificed himself to help humanity win the war.

“Pacific Rim Uprising” is set 10 years after humanity’s victory against the Kaiju. Jake Pentacost, who was kicked out of his pilot training academy, finds himself caught up living an unrestricted lifestyle in the ruins of a city. After an encounter with the authorities and a clever young mechanic named Amara Namani, Jake is given the opportunity to make up for his crimes by training the next generation of pilots. When he arrives at the facility, Jake learns that the Jaeger program is on the verge of becoming irrelevant because of the development of auto-piloted Jaegers.

Predictably, once the auto-piloted Jaegers are deployed, they turn against the humans. This overused plot point is reminiscent of “Iron Man 2” where the auto-piloted drones turn rogue. The rest of the film is filled with action-packed fight scenes between the giant robot Jaegers and alien lizards to decide the fate of the planet.

The most disappointing part about “Pacific Rim Uprising” is that almost the entire plot seemed like a copy and paste job from other science fiction blockbusters such as “Transformers,” “Iron Man” and “Independence Day.” The main character struggling to come to terms with his father’s legacy, the talented young prodigy emerging from poverty, the giant humanoid battle rigs protecting the world, the rich and powerful cooperation up to no good, the auto-piloted drones going rogue and the imminent destruction of the Earth at the hands of an alien race are all extremely common themes in science fiction action films. “Pacific Rim Uprising” could have definitely used some more originality and plot twists to make it stand out from other films in its genre.

The one saving grace of this movie was Jon Boyega, who is clearly an action movie superstar. It’s exciting to see the “Star Wars: Force Awakens” actor in a larger role of his own. He brings to the table a perfect blend of confidence and charm to play the lead character in an action film. In “Pacific Rim Uprising” he delivers plenty of quick witted and amusing lines that kept the audience laughing between action scenes. Without a doubt, Boyega deserves a role in a much better written film that is able to fully showcase his talents.

Overall, the plot of “Pacific Rim Uprising” felt like it was lazily put together by reusing parts from other science fiction movies. On the bright side, the acting by Jon Boyega was excellent and the film delivers enough action-packed robot fight scenes to please a fan of the science fiction genre. The most successful aspect of this film was the quick and humorous dialogue that was interwoven into the action sequences.  

“Pacific Rim Uprising” is in theaters now.

Rating: 3/5


Matthew Souvigney is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.souvigney@uconn.edu.