One of the summer’s biggest action films, courtesy of director Guillermo del Toro, takes us to the Pacific coast of America and eventually Hong Kong to fight incredibly large monsters that make their way to this planet through a portal in the Pacific Ocean. Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) stars as a former Jaeger pilot asked to return to the new underground division of the doomer Jaeger-mission by commander Stacker Pentecostto (Idris Elba), who is helped by Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). The Jaeger program was deemed a failure in America as the monsters, known as Kaiju, were becoming larger and occurring more frequently.
The action starts off almost instantly with a battle between the Kaiju and a Jaeger, which is being controlled by Becket and his brother Yancy (Diego Klattenhoff), who is killed in battle leaving Becket to deal with the anguish of having been neurologically connected to him through the robot. This is a recurring piece throughout the film but doesn’t get explored much.
Pacific Rim doesn’t explore a lot of the plot much, which seems to be the movie’s biggest weakness. There isn’t a whole lot of plot. So much effort is put into creating a reason to have a giant robot fight giant alien creatures that there’s not much time left to back it up. We’re given all the information we need for the story to make sense but since it’s an action film, having too much dialogue and back story would have interfered.
Visually, the film looks great. We’re presented the warehouse in which the Jaegers are built and repaired, and the battle scenes with the Kaiju and the resulting aftermath are extravagant. But the dialogue is weak and the attempts at creating a superhero persona are cheesy. Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) save the lack of character personality by providing the comedic relief that helps give this movie the extra edge it needs. It begins to drag about two thirds of the way through, knowing full well how it will end it’s just a matter of when. Ultimately, Pacific Rim played like a glorified episode of Power Rangers at times, giving it all show and little substance with no reason to latch on to the story or the characters. It’s entertaining and beautifully visual but skipping it wouldn’t be a loss.