Pacific Rim 2 not a monster, at least in U.S.

Wondering why there was a sequel to the first Pacific Rim (2013, Movie Man No. 1024, 6)? Well, read on.

About the film
Pacific Rim was one of those movies that did not perform well as expected in America, so U.S. audiences are surprised to discover that a sequel was made.
Sometimes a movie shows up and seems like a dud domestically yet it’s huge internationally.
Here are a few examples:
• Hanzel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013, MM #1020, 6) – In America, this Jeremy Renner picture made just $55.7 million. But, overseas it raked in $170.4 million. That’s why another one is in the pipeline – either a sequel or a TV series.
After Earth (2013, the Movie Man passed on it, choosing Now You See Me [MM #1038, 7]) – Considered a big dud despite Will Smith starring in an M. Night Shyamalan movie, After Earth took in only $60.5 million in the U.S. but worldwide it raked in $183.3 million, 75 percent of its take.
John Carter (2012, MM #973, 5). Hailed as one of the great bombs of all-time, this Disney sci-fi movie managed only $73.1 million domestically. But it collected $211.1 million overseas, making it hardly a stinker.
Other movies that performed way better elsewhere include Oblivion (2013, MM #1022, 8 – $89.1 million in the U.S./$197 million elsewhere/68.9 percent of its take); A Good Day to Die Hard (2013, MM #1023, 3, Worst of Year) – $67.3/$237.3/77.9 percent; and the all-time champ, Ice Age: Collision Course (2016, the Movie Man thankfully chose Star Trek Beyond [MM #1212, 6] that week – $64/$408/85.
Pacific Rim’s domestic/international difference wasn’t that great, but it was pretty big.
While fanboys awaited the arrival of giant robots fighting gargantuan monsters in 2013, the film took in “just” $101.8 million here. But it was much more of an event in foreign auditoriums where it cleared $309.2 million. That’s why there was a sequel.

The plot
Jake (John Boyega) is the son of the hero of the first film who sacrificed himself to save the world from an invasion of monsters – kaiju – from an interdimensional rift.
Boyega is a common thief who washed out of the pilot program, but it appears, with peace on earth, pilots are being replaced by drones anyway.
However, evil arrives and so does another rift. Boyega gets pressed into service with former adversary Nate (Scott Eastwood) and spunky young Amara (Cailee Spaeny).
They must fight incoming kaiju – who have a big trick, literally, up their scaly sleeves.

What works
It’s all about the special effects in Uprising. They are pretty cool, rampaging around and knocking down buildings.
An early action scene where Boyega must escape from some baddies when he can’t deliver on a promised power source is action-packed.
The first appearance of Spaeny happens then, too; her homemade robot can’t stand up to the government’s despite her best efforts.

Best scene
It got ruined in the coming attraction, but when the separate kaiju meld together to make a really big monster, the effect and realization of what just happened is fun to see.

What doesn’t work
The Movie Man loves sci-fi, but these movies are really dumb. The fighting gets terribly repetitive quickly, and the typical “misfits banding together to save humanity” trope is straight up worn out.
It’s hard to tell the ‘bots apart without a scorecard, sometimes.
The rating
It’s PG-13 for monster/robot violence – over and over.

Summing up
Uprising might kill in Asia, but it won’t in the states. Kaiju fans will enjoy it – that’s all.

Next up
Ready Player One.