Ocean mon­sters any­thing but Pa­cific

North West Telegraph - - Lifestyle -

Pa­cific Rim Up­ris­ing,3stars Re­view: Katie Walsh

The Pa­cific Rim ac­tion fran­chise has a rel­a­tively sim­ple premise — giant ro­bots and alien mon­sters clob­ber each other to smithereens — but sur­pris­ingly, it’s driven by a supremely rad­i­cal em­brace of team­work and em­pa­thy.

This isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a sur­prise, be­cause it comes from the big, beat­ing heart of Guillermo del Toro, who has al­ways seen op­por­tu­ni­ties to fo­cus on love and con­nec­tion in mo­ments of hor­ror.

Del Toro di­rected the first Pa­cific Rim, and pro­duced its se­quel, Pa­cific Rim Up­ris­ing, which he has left in the hands of di­rec­tor and co-writer Stephen S. DeKnight, who brings a sin­gu­larly fre­netic en­ergy to his fea­ture di­rec­to­rial de­but that man­ages to out­pace the first film.

John Boyega stars as Jake Pen­te­cost, the son of the leg­endary Stacker Pen­te­cost (played by Idris Elba in the first film), who sac­ri­ficed him­self in the great war against the kaiju.

If you’re un­fa­mil­iar with the Pa­cific Rim lore, all you need to know is giant alien mon­sters came out of the sea to de­stroy ev­ery­thing on earth, and hu­mans hit back with enor­mous fight­ing ro­bots called jaegers.

A decade af­ter the first war with the kaiju, the ocean breaches are sealed, and all seems at peace — for now. Jake, a for­mer Ranger pilot who flamed out and now spends his time par­ty­ing and bar­ter­ing on the black mar­ket, is pressed to re-en­list as a get-out-of-jail-free card, along with a scrappy young girl, Amara (Cailee Spaeny), who’s been cob­bling her own home­made jaeger to­gether.

Like a kaiju, DeKnight has a re­lent­less, propul­sive and of­ten bonkers style. Pa­cific Rim Up­ris­ing moves at break­neck clip, so just try to keep up. Boyega doesn’t let a scene go by with­out a side­bar, quip or joke, while Spaeny shines in her first film.

Milla Te­sar, 6, and friends at her birth­day­party.

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