While the fear about aliens and other life had always seemed to send eyes to the skies, the alien attacks actually came from below the Pacific Ocean. The Kaiju began to rise for the deep and attack the coastal cities form San Francisco to Tokyo. When the regular artilleries of the armies were barely enough to take down the first few Kaiju, giant mechanic fighters called Jaegers were created. Among the most successful pilots of the Jaegers were the Becket brothers, at least until one of the Kaiju got the better of them and took away Yancy. Five years later and after many additional Kaiju attacks, Raleigh is pulled out of retirement by General Stacker Pentecost to pilot his Jaeger to hopefully finish the war with the Kaiju. Without his brother to partner with and having been away from the fight for five years, Raleigh is left to pick up the pieces before the attacks threaten to end humanity’s plan for survival.
Starring: Charlie Hunnam (Raleigh Becket), Diego Klattenhoff (Yancy Becket), Idris Elba (Stacker Pentacost), Rinko Kikuchi (Mako Mori), Charlie Day (Dr. Newton Geiszler), Burn Gorman (Gottlieb), Max Martini (Herc Hansen), Robert Kazinsky (Chuck Hansen), Ron Perlman (Hannibal Chau), Clifton Collins Jr (Ops Tendo Choi)
While the film was more about the fighting between the massive creatures, there was plenty of setup to allow the actors to have their time on the screen. The most entertaining of the group was the pair of Day and Gorman, who were constantly at odds with each other and seemingly crazed like the scientist from Independence Day. Meanwhile, Hunnam is a solid lead but did not more than fill the role without showing much range in his acting abilities. Kikuchi was much more emotive, and even Elba had several solid moments of conflict with the pair driving Gypsy Danger.
Guillermo del Toro tried to take larger than life creatures and build a compelling story of loss and recovery of the humans at its core. Fast forwarding to Raleigh’s return to the Jaeger program, the governments of the world failed to see the program as a longterm solution but also failed to recognize that a giant wall would not contain the Kaiju forever either. Discontinuing the official support for the program, Stacker refused to end the fight. Though averse to the idea of letting Mako fight, he eventually gave in and learned that she was a great match to partner with Raleigh (but not before a few setbacks). Winning the fight against the Kaiju was going to take more than a direct assault on the rift and the Kaiju were getting stronger and adapting to the Jaeger program’s efforts. There was no guarantee that the pilots were going to be able to return from their mission.
The human drama was a bit straightforward but definitely in your face. Raleigh lost his brother and had to sort out his feelings to find himself again. Though he did not seem to struggle as much with getting back into the groove, Mako’s past was much more of a problem than he could have imagined. With her past experience with the Kaiju and the loss of her family, she almost let her fear completely immobilize her in the fight. Meanwhile, Stacker’s protection of Mako almost prevented him from allowing her to use her skills to save mankind.
The film is more of a graphical and visual presentation but the dramatic storyline is not as absent as it may appear. There is a little more to the characters than simply fighters. Still, the action is definitely the main attraction.
Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5