Pacific Rim Uprising (2018): ‘Too Many Threads’ – A Film Review



When Guillermo del Toro  gave us his tribute to Kaiju cinema, audiences were thrilled but Pacific Rim only got so far. Bringing two giants of cinema, the robots in the form of Jaegers and the giant monsters kept as Kaiju, isn’t exactly new (Gojira fought his robotic counter part Mekagojira and King Kong his with Mechanikong); but certainly these Jaegers take a new turn with the genre. However, the unfortunate inclusion of nuclear energy as man’s answer to nature, felt out of place and Pacific Rim became the successful, fun and visually interesting film – but just that. Pacific Rim Uprising was surely to happen, and the little cliffhangers left from Pacific Rim feel as if to predict its sequel. This CGI fuelled action film comes out in the right time where cinema is focusing on what CGI and Motion Capture technology can do. Though Guillermo Del Toro doesn’t seem to be back for the sequel, instead leaving it for Steven S. DeKnight. Still, what could go wrong?


Confused Directions

Well… Feeling brighter and more colourful than the grit of Pacific Rim, Pacific Rim Uprising focuses on the Jaegers and looks at developing the technology in the world – which could work but doesn’t here as it doesn’t take this anywhere. It also feels like quite a risk to get lighter in both visuals and tone. Jaegers have great designs and the action sequences compliment their powerful and varied abilities, however we don’t see enough of the Kaiju. They should be their focused enemy but they are largely absent but arrive with a sense to ‘up the ante’ with the kaiju, which feels forced (an misguided nod to Power Rangers). This isn’t helped by the abundance of characters that are woven into the plot. A focus on trained cadets which could be the focus of the film, if it wasn’t distracted by other political characters tied into a secondary theme through the changing technology. Twists and turns aren’t always predictable but don’t add much either.



What we do have is some witty dialogue and some great performances, particularly by John Boyega (Jake Pentecost) and Cailee Spaeny (Amara Namani). Whilst fight scenes feel the destruction and the impact of falls and punches to a scale that can be quite powerful. This doesn’t always keep characters challenged or at peril but certainly looks realistic and satisfying. Many fans of Kaiju cinema and Pacific Rim will certainly like the polished look of the film and the well-designed destruction.



What we have with Pacific Rim Uprising is a sequel falling into sequel traps whilst losing focus. It is entertaining enough and looks amazingly like how a blockbuster action film about monsters and robots smashing each other into buildings should. However, it just doesn’t live up to its original and even takes a different look. This would be amazing if it did actually add something to the universe of Pacific Rim but instead it lacks its interest in the world. Instead Pacific Rim Uprising opts for trying to be exciting whilst without substance – though not falling into the nuclear trap. The cliffhangers of the first film aren’t really touched upon at all here which doesn’t help this discontinuity between them. There may be more in this universe but this doesn’t help or hinder the chances of more sequels to come.



Years after the Kaiju were defeated in Pacific Rim, Jaegers are still a unique group of the military. Training for Jaeger pilots continue whilst the technology develops with the potential to reduce pilots.




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A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.


Films Mentioned

Pacific Rim (d. Guillermo del Toro USA 2013)

Pacific Rim Uprising (d. Steven S. DeKnight USA/China/UK 2018)


Further Reading

Official Site

Interview with Steven S. DeKnight

Interview with John Boyega

Interview with Cailee Spaeny

Pacific Rim Uprising Anatomy of a Scene

Pacific Rim Uprising Behind the Scenes


If you liked this…

Pacific Rim (2013) – A Film Review

Godzilla (2014) – A Film Review

Kong: Skull Island (2017) – A Film Review

Jurassic World (2015) – A Film Review

シン・ゴジラ or Godzilla Resurgence (2016): ‘The Political and Cultural Icon’ – A Film Review

Kaiju Cinema Narratives – A Film Essay


This was an analytical review of….


Pacific Rim Uprising (d. Steven S. DeKnight USA/China/UK 2018)


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