Not surprisingly, two of the best jaeger pilots happen to be brothers—Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam, Cold Mountain) and his older brother Yancy (Diego Klattenhoff, The Dark Knight Rises). As skilled as they are at fighting, however, the sheer unpredictably of the kaijus is nearly impossible to overcome.

In a particularly aggressive battle, tragedy inevitably strikes, and Raleigh is left reeling. Emotionally drained and no longer committed to the cause, Raleigh wanders from job to job, eventually landing in Alaska where local law enforcement is taking a new approach to kaiju capture: building a large wall to keep them out (you may be tempted to draw a political parallel here, but don't worry, the film doesn’t bother with anything resembling deeper meaning).

Turns out, one can never quite escape his past, and before long Raleigh is standing face to face with his former commanding officer, the awesomely-named Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba, Prometheus). With the kaiju growing stronger - not to mention smarter - every day, and the jaeger program on the verge of being shut down for its supposed ineffectiveness, Stacker needs Raleigh's help more than ever. As a former jaeger pilot himself, Stacker believes it's the only means of defeating the kaiju.

If you've ever seen a movie before, you know exactly where this paint-by-numbers story is headed. The film is more focused on elaborate action sequences than even the most rudimentary character development, so only the sporadic comic relief from two bickering scientists played by Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) and Burn Gorman (The Dark Knight Rises) offers any respite from the feeling of watching someone else play a very long videogame.

As with most disaster movies, the body count in Pacific Rim is high, but you never really feel the weight of loss. Without an opportunity to invest in the characters or the circumstances leading to the world's demise, Pacific Rim proves yet again that bigger isn't always better. And the audience deserves "better," even when it comes to summer blockbusters. When we've got so many better options on Netflix, OnDemand and the like (2011's Super 8, perhaps?), what's available should be far better than Pacific Rim—especially if someone like Guillermo del Toro is leading the charge.

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):

  • Drugs/Alcohol: A reference to a male virility drug.
  • Language/Profanity: A few exclamations of God’s name, plus three instances where God’s name is paired with da--. Sh--, bast---, da--, SOB and as- are also used on occasion. Some scatological humor involving the monsters.
  • Sex/Nudity: None
  • Violence: In addition to your standard-issue disaster movie footage (for instance, you see that San Francisco has been completely destroyed), there are multiple fight scenes between the “robots” and the kaiju monsters that are mostly bloodless. There are several sequences, however, that are far more intense. The monsters themselves are pretty terrifying. In one scene, a kaiju opens up one of the robots, grabs one of the pilots and throws him away (naturally, the man is screaming for the duration). In a scene that doesn’t involve the monsters, a man threatens another by putting a knife up his nose. A person is eventually eaten alive by one of the monsters. A young girl sees her entire family die in a massive kaiju attack, and in one of the rare emotionally tense scenes, she is running away from her death as well.

Publication date: July 11, 2013