MARCH 23, 2018 -- Guillermo del Toro's original 2013 film "Pacific Rim" was a moderately amusing two-hour, CGI-infused movie chunk that managed to earn $400 million worldwide. The story was a bit inane - otherworldly monsters attacking the Earth and the Earth defending itself with big robots - but the talent managed to make the film watchable.


Del Toro bailed on this sequel so that he could make Oscar winning best movie "The Shape of Water". He turned the helm over to Steven DeKnight who is making his feature film debut. He was given $150 million bucks or so to put together a sequel, which he co-wrote with three other people. The original was scribed by del Toro and Travis Beacham. You know my saying about too many cooks in the kitchen and this is a prime example.


The story picks up many years after the Kaiju wars with the son of one of the heroes, Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), living the life of a crook. He makes a living selling or trading war scraps for food and/or money. But in his previous life he was a Jaeger pilot, just like his dad. He dropped out over philisophical differences with other rangers.

But after he hooks up with another hustler - Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny) - he gets caught by law officials and is blackmailed back into the pilot program with Namani as his student.


Things get complicated when a new threat emerges first in the form of a Chinese corporation named Shao led by Liwen Shao, and her concept of drone robots to defend the planet more effectively. She has hired Dr Geiszler (Charlie Day) to help her with the technology of integrated Kaiju biology with human technology.


Things go wrong, a new portal to Kaiju is opened an three new monster get through with one big surprise up their sleeve. This will, of course, test the mettle of the new pilots, Pentecost, Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), Namani, etc to see if they can pull off another miracle...yada, yada, yada... living up to the pilots of yore. Ho-hum.


The narrative is very disjointed with little flow, rather hopping from one fight scene to the next. The story falls back on old Godzilla movies, even so much as to have the monsters head to Japan for one big stomping through Tokyo. They even steal a tech concept from "Black Panther"... you'll spot that and groan.


Boyega, Eastwood and the rest sleepwalk through their lines seemingly forcing any kind of emotion. Day seems to be having a good time as the villain and Tian Jing comes across well as the bossy Chinese super babe. Otherwise, they are no performances to bail out the fractionalized script. The CGI is supposed to be enough, but in the end, they aren't. The robots and the monsters don't even live up to an ersatz Autobots verses Godzilla.


The one thing that DeKnight did do is chop twenty minutes off the original; this one comes in well under two hours with no need to stay for the long credit roll.


"Pacific Rim: Uprising" will appeal to fans who have no interest in a story that makes sense and are satisfied with a film with scene segments that feature bang and boom and little else.   -- GRADE C- --   GEOFF BURTON