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Blu-ray Review – Pacific Rim: Uprising – “Check your brain at the door, and just sit back and watch giant robots and monsters destroy cities”

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There was little chance that I wasn’t going to like the original Pacific Rim. Giant robots versus giant monsters? All directed by Guillermo del Toro, the man behind films such as Hellboy, The Devil’s Backbone, and Pan’s Labyrinth? That’s pretty much a sure thing for a sci-fi geek like me.

But a sequel to the same film? Not directed by del Toro? With major players from the original cast absent? Well, that’s a much shakier proposition.

Pacific Rim: Uprising picks up ten years after the end of the original film, which saw the breach the attacking Kaiju were coming through sealed. We meet Stacker Pentecost’s (Idris Elba in the original film) son, Jake (John Boyega), who fills in the Reluctant Hero role played by Charlie Hunnam in the first film. He’s joined by spunky 15-year-old prodigy Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny), all-business commander Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), and a fresh batch of young teenage Jaeger pilot recruits. Rinko Kinkuchi, Charlie Day, and Burn Gorman return from the original, and they’re all welcome additions to the proceedings.

The story isn’t terribly complex: a new threat arises and a team of untested Jaeger pilots must defeat it. I don’t want to say much more than that, because there are actually a few surprises to be found, and it’s not just a case of more monsters showing up from the breach. Some of it is fairly well telegraphed, but at least I appreciate that the filmmakers tried to do more than simply rehash the first film with a new cast.

The film works pretty well overall and to be honest, I had a good amount of fun with it. The character scenes don’t work as well as they did in the original film (and even there they weren’t perfect), but luckily the film doesn’t waste too much time between what we’re all really there to see: giant robot/monster fights. The film gives us lots of CGI action, and whenever there are downbeats, they don’t last very long. It’s one adrenaline-fueled, high-octane brawl after another.

Another part of the film that works extremely well is John Boyega, who is an absolutely astounding actor. While he’s mostly known for playing Finn in the last two Star Wars films, his performance in 2017’s Detroit proved that he’s a force to be reckoned with. Here, he’s the anti-Finn: all swagger, cockiness, and brash humor. He’s the best part of the movie that isn’t computer generated. Scott Eastwood doesn’t fare quite as well; he’s in a thankless role and doesn’t seem to possess the natural charisma to break through the writing and really shine.

It’s not quite as good as the first film, but the first film wasn’t exactly perfect, either. Check your brain at the door, and just sit back and watch giant robots and monsters destroy cities left and right. You’ll have fun with it.

Pacific Rim is available on Digital on 16th July. It then hits 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Steelbook on 30th July 2018. Pre-order it here.

BONUS FEATURES ON 4K ULTRA HD, 3D BLU-RAYTM, BLU-RAYTM, DVD & DIGITAL:

* Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Steven S. DeKnight

* Hall of Heroes – John Boyega takes us through the awesome weaponry and cutting-edge enhancements of the latest generation of Jaegers featured in the film.

* Bridge to Uprising – The cast and crew discuss how the world of Pacific Rim has changed in the ten years since the events of the original film.

* The Underworld of Uprising – Humanity won the Kaiju War, but every war has casualties. John Boyega and Steven S. DeKnight give a tour of the coastal “Relief Zones.”

* Becoming Cadets – Step into the Shatterdome, and learn the grueling physical and mental preparation required of the young actors who portrayed the PPDC cadets.

* Unexpected Villain – Learn the secret reason that turned one of the most beloved heroes of the original film into a villain obsessed with humanity’s destruction.

* Next Level Jaegers – The cast and crew discuss the amazing technological advances of the Jaeger program in the years since the events of the original film.

* I Am Scrapper – Actress Cailee Spaeny shares the backstory of Scrapper, Amara’s incredible self-built Jaeger and its many unique abilities.

* Going Mega – Filmmakers take us through the technical and creative challenges of creating the most deadly threat the Pan Pacific Defense Corp has ever faced: the Mega Kaiju!

* Secrets of Shao – Meet the woman behind Shao Industries. Actress Tian Jing shares her insights on the enigmatic tech tycoon Liwen Shao.

* Mako Returns – Actress Rinko Kikuchi and director Steven S. DeKnight explain the significance of Mako Mori’s return and her importance to the events of Pacific Rim Uprising.

* Feature Commentary with Director Steven S. DeKnight

The 4K Ultra HD disc will include the same bonus features as the Blu-rayTM version, all in stunning 4K resolution.

* 4K Ultra HD is the ultimate movie watching experience. 4K Ultra HD features the combination of 4K resolution for four times sharper picture than HD, the color brilliance of High Dynamic Range (HDR) with immersive audio delivering a multidimensional sound experience.

* Blu-rayTM unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6X the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.

* Digital lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download.

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