• by Wes Singleton

Pacific Rim Uprising, C


Rated PG-13, 100 minutes

The blandly entertaining robots sequel "Pacific Rim Uprising" is a generic mix of Transformers and Godzilla. A sequel to the 2013 Guillermo Del Toro's (who produces this time out) "Pacific Rim," it nearly makes up for its lack of originality with its considerable energy and bright visuals, which barely sustains it above its lackluster storytelling.

Ten years after the Battle of the Breach, the oceans have become restless once again, but the Jaeger program has evolved into the next generation for the PPDC. However, a mysterious organization has reopened the Breach for the Kaiju and a Jaeger has gone rogue. Jake Pentecost ("Star Wars: The Force Awakens'" John Boyega), son of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba, in flashbacks), rises up to stand against the evolved Kaiju and the mysterious rogue Jaeger, Obsidian Fury, to prevent humanity's extinction and preserve his father’s legacy.

"Pacific Rim Uprising" is a silly save-the-planet action adventure, in which humans and good robots work together to fight the evil robots from destroying the planet; it's big, loud and dumb, yet just enough fun to qualify as an early Spring cinematic guilty pleasure. Directed by Steven D. McKnight of TV's "Spartacus" and co-written by McKnight, Kira Snyder, Emily Carmichael and "The Maze Runner's" TS Nowlin, it's hampered by goofy, oversimplified storytelling, but most don't go to these types of things solely for the plot.

To its credit, "Uprising" is helped by having the charming Boyega of "The Last Jedi" fame lead the charge this time out, carrying the film with suave rigor in the same way Elba carried the equally silly "Pacific Rim." The rest of the cast doesn't register as well, with newcomer Cailee Spaeny adding some spunk as a young sidekick to Jake, while Scott Eastwood, Oscar-nominee Rinko Kikuchi and Burn Gorman ("Game of Thrones" round out the cast. However, a distraction is the miscasting of comedian Charlie Day ("Fist Fight") as the chief villain, one of the film's biggest mistakes; the lazy scripting and direction plays to Day's weaknesses as a performer - shrill and annoying - that keeps the film from being truly effective.

The special effects and action sequences help lift the film, with the slick, bright visuals adding some splendor, though as with the "Transformers" films, it's so CG heavy it becomes obvious that's what they are. It is what it is, "Pacific Rim Rising" is no surprise: it lumbers along, providing some decent entertainment in the moment you won't remember much of after it's over.

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