I was not going to see this movie. I thought it was Transformers, underwater, and I thought it looked pretty lame and unoriginal, but after the reviews started coming in (and after I realized the hottie from Sons of Anarchy (Charlie Hunnam) was in it!), I decided to give it a shot.
Totally. Worth. It. As far as hardcore action movies go, this one is definitely at the top of the list this summer. It has its weak points, as do most action movies as I’ve mentioned before, but the action is unparalleled. Giant robotic superheroes powered by a pair of pilots fighting alien monsters coming up through the ocean. It sounds cheesy, which is why I shied away from it at first, but it was actually a decent story and a decent movie.
The world starts making robots to fight this new scary attack on earth, from the Kaiji (alien monsters). Two pilots control each robot, called Jaegers, and they sync up (a la Avatar style neuro-tech) to be able to control the movements better.
Raleigh (Hunnam) and his brother were pilots early on in the Jaeger program and were in sync pretty well, being brothers and all. When his brother dies, and Raleigh experiences it from his own AND his brother’s perspective, still synced up in the Jaeger, he calls it quits. The Jaeger program starts disintegrating. The Kaiji are getting bigger and destroying more Jaegers than countries can produce. But, five years later, the Jaeger program command guys come up with a new plan to take out the Kaiji once and for all.
With that, Raleigh is called back in, along with some of the remaining (surviving) pilots of Jaegers around the Pacific rim. The other pilots are a little cheesy and stereotypical (super-blond scary-looking Russians, a set of triplets from south Asia), but they don’t last very long and don’t have much to say, so I can overlook that. The big character is Mako (Rinko Kikuchi), a young Japanese woman who is clearly going to end up synced up with Raleigh.
I had a hard time buying into this, and still wasn’t crazy about it by the end of the movie. They just HAD to make it a romance angle. HAD TO. Stupid Hollywood bastards. It would have been awesome and more believable in my mind if she was just this damaged orphan and he was this brotherless former pilot who were very well connected neurologically. Every scene with them together, especially if it hinted even slightly toward the romantic, was awkward. Granted, the scenes were usually short-lived (thank god), but still awkward and unnecessary. I wish they’d taken that part of the story in a different direction.
Aside from that, the action was incredible. Yeah, it’s all special effects and it’s fucking robots versus aliens, but I was seriously worried about the pilots making it back, and those Kaiji were pretty menacing. Adrenaline, pulse-pounding, hardcore action.
Double bonus? Charlie fucking Day. Playing a scientist. A little off his rocker, a little too obsessed with the Kaiji, but hilarious as always and entertaining as hell.
The ending seemed a little too simple (though it wasn’t really that simple, high tech robots and neuro-syncing and all), and they killed off a couple characters who should have lived and let live one who should have died (I smell a sequel), but overall, it was a fun, entertaining summer blockbuster.
It’s flawed, I grant you, but it’s still a hell of a ride start to finish, and well worth a night out if you’re looking for something that packs a punch.
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