Revelations Film Festival: You Were Never Really Here

Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here takes the foundations of an action thriller and uses them to build something altogether stranger.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Rhys Pascoe

An army veteran, a former FBI operative and a survivor of childhood abuses, Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) is a man for whom violence is akin to a second language. While others speak with words, Joe is a staggering, hooded goliath who communicates with his bunched fists and a ball peen hammer.

Living with his mother in their shabby New York home and working as an unlicensed private investigator with a penchant for rescue and retrieval of missing girls who have been sold into sex slavery, Joe is recruited by Senator Votto (Alex Mannette), whose daughter Nina (Ekaterina Samsonov) has disappeared. However, once he starts to pull at that thread, Joe uncovers a conspiracy that runs much deeper.

 At first glance, Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here sounds like umpteen other action thrillers that star a gruff macho man and a frail waif in need of rescue. That it reveals itself to be something vastly different is a testament to both Ramsay’s punchiness behind the camera and Phoenix’s mesmerizing performance. The latter lurches through each scene, veering from uncaring ferocity – that is rarely seen, with the camera lingering more on the crumpled bodies left in Joe’s wake – and crushing despair, with Joe’s work interspersed by vivid flashbacks of battlefield atrocities and dark formative years underscored by domestic violence.

Punchy editing hammers home this intensity, with each flash into the past crashing across the screen with blaring noise and arresting imagery. Phoenix, who is fighting with his own inner demons as much as he is the goons in his way, is a burning furnace of anger and sorrow. And while Ramsay’s film peels back the curtain to peer into the grim nature of Joe’s work, exposing the perpetrators is never the screenplay’s intention. There is no grand conspiracy to unearth.

Instead, this is a slow, inward character study that recounts the cyclical and inescapable nature of violence; that shows how moments of pain can echo throughout our lives. This pain the characters feel is relayed onto the audience; even in its final moments, You Were Never Really Here is a bruising, punishing film that is hard to understand and even harder to watch. At the same time, it’s one of the most intense and meticulous films of the year. Every aspect of this taut and meditative thriller has been expertly crafted to hit hard and resonate long after the credits have finished rolling.

 What it lacks in narrative coherence it more than makes up for in sheer artistry. This is an action thriller that has been removed of its rigid genre constraints, and now moves in stranger, eerier territory and is punctuated by moments of bone-shattering horror. Phoenix is unrecognizable while Ramsay’s cruel, poetic take on a vigilante noir lacks catharsis and defies convention. This is more Taxi Driver than Taken, and it operates on an unspoken ‘less is more’ modus operandi. Strap in for a feverish, dizzying experience.

You Were Never Really Here has one more screening on Sunday 15th July at Luna, Leederville. 8:50pm

To book your tickets go to http://www.revelationfilmfest.org/

Images courtesy of Revelation Perth International Film Festival 2018

 

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Movie Review – Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Stefano Sollima’s Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a solid sequel that is sorely lacking in identity.

 

⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Rhys Pascoe 

Sicario wasn’t a film that was crying out for sequel. Denis Villeneuve’s (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) potent concoction of crime, war and cop procedural was a perfect storm of pulsating intensity and atmosphere that told a punchy, concise story. It was self-contained and exited stage left with an emotional, gut-punch of an ending. Done and dusted, mission accomplished.

With most of the creative talent that made its predecessor such a success now absent, Sicario: Day of the Soldado doesn’t have a lot going for it on paper. Along with Villeneuve, lead actress Emily Blunt is gone, as are cinematographer Roger Deakins and Icelandic composer Johan Johannsson, the latter of whom sadly passed away last year. All signs are pointed squarely at Day of the Soldado upholding the grand tradition of half-baked follow-ups that coast along on the residual goodwill of its forebear. Y’know, something like Speed 2: Cruise Control or Jurassic Park III.

And while Day of the Soldado is conclusively not as bad as either of those, it certainly begs the question – why? Why does this film exist? Why does every mildly successful film have to become a franchise?

The film centres around US operative Matt Graver (Josh Brolin, in his third major role of the year) and Mexican hitman Alejandro Gillick (a brilliant Benicio del Toro), who are sent back across the border to stir up trouble between powerful Mexican drug cartels. The US Government wants the cartels fighting one another rather than smuggling terrorists into the States, and so the black ops duo are tasked with kidnapping Isabel Reyes (Isabela Moner), the daughter of a high-profile drug lord. When the mission goes awry, Graver and Gillick are forced to cover their tracks, even if it means betraying their country and one another.

A taut screenplay from returning scribe Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water, Wind River) is what puts Day of the Soldado over the line. Sheridan’s proclivity for creating compelling characters both big and small, from a high-school kid caught in a cycle of violence to a deaf goat farmer just trying to survive the harsh Mexican desert, is what immediately grabs you in Day of the Soldado.

It’s elsewhere that this sequel struggles. Sicario, the first one, was a suffocating experience for cinemagoers. It was draped in an unshakeable curtain of fear and tension; death or a fate worse than death lurked around every corner or behind every door in Villeneuve’s film. And the audience was along for the ride every step of the way, courtesy of a compelling surrogate in the form of the Blunt’s Kate Macer.

That gripping, stomach-churning atmosphere is noticeably absent in Day of the Soldado. As good and as talented as the filmmakers are, the finished product is simply lacking the polish and the depth of the first film. The cinematography is familiar but flatter. The score, save for a reprisal of Johannsson’s powerful hooks at the end, is imitating rather than innovating. If Sicario is an extravagant wedding cake with delectable icing, Day of the Soldado is one of those $5 Woolies mudcakes; still good, but not as special or as memorable.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado is available in Australian cinemas from 28 June 

Image courtesy of Roadshow Films 

Movie Review – Ant-Man and the Wasp

Peyton Reed’s follow-up to his successful Ant-Man is just as charming and funny, thanks in large part to his brilliant cast.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Zachary Cruz-Tan

After all the fuss over Marvel’s first major female villain in Thor: Ragnarok (2017), the racial intrigue of Black Panther and the tragedies that grappled Avengers: Infinity War, it is lovely to once again enjoy an action superhero comedy from which I can leave without having to ponder my life choices. Superhero movies used to be goofy, once upon a time. Now they’re taken more seriously than final exams. Ant-Man and the Wasp is a cheerful reminder that there’s more than enough room for both.

This is the follow-up to 2015’s Ant-Man and it carries along the same energy and charisma that made that film one of the more underrated instalments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Paul Rudd is once again the titular hero, except this time he has to do his superhero business while under house arrest for his role in the events that destroyed a German airport.

Fighting alongside him is Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), the formidable daughter of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who has taken up the mantle of the Wasp in an attempt to rescue her mother from the Quantum Realm, a dimension so small the bacteria that live there are the size of hippos. Indeed, much of Ant-Man and the Wasp is about the Pyms’ tireless efforts to retrieve their missing beloved, and Lilly and Douglas create quite a dynamic family unit, one that is penetrated with lots of humour by Rudd.

What’s interesting about the screenplay, penned rather surprisingly by five writers, is the way it uses the Pyms’ mission as the foundation for a plot that could have been written by the Coen brothers, except instead of a rug or a briefcase filled with dirty money, all the characters are trying to get their hands on a laboratory that’s been shrunken to the size of a suitcase. Yes, that’s right – a tiny building on wheels.

One of the many joys about these Ant-Man movies is the kick the filmmakers get from turning small everyday objects into larger-than-life monstrosities, including Ant-Man himself. I won’t tell you if Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), the Pym matriarch, is found, but I enjoyed the urgency with which the plot moves towards her. It all builds up to a hilarious scene in which Rudd and Douglas hold hands, and then a touching one that moved me more than it should have. Goofy and serious, all at the same time.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is available in Australian cinemas from July 5

Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

 

 

Movie Review – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

There’s big volcano explosions, a new scary dinosaur and Jurassic Park’s version of Han Solo with Chris Pratt…. but does anybody care anymore?

⭐ ½
Josip Knezevic 

The Jurassic franchise might as well be extinct – it’s been travelling in a downward spiral ever since the first sequel came out roughly 20 years ago. I can only hope this newest instalment will serve as final proof that the Jurassic universe needs to be left in the past.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom follows a narrative that’s muddled with ridiculousness and built on poor foundations. My interest in its debate surrounding whether dinosaurs should be saved from extinction quickly diminished as the story became riddled with cliches and unintelligent ideas. It’s just as silly as The Fast and The Furious series, except here there are no excessive action sequences to offset the weak narrative and ensure the film is at least somewhat enjoyable.

Even putting all of that aside, Jurassic World still doesn’t manage to bring anything new to the table. Chris Pratt plays Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum’s monologue feels like a cash-grab cameo, and all the supporting characters are completely forgettable and lacking in depth.

The only redeeming quality here is the visual aesthetic of the film. While the screenplay is wishy-washy at best, the film is visually spectacular. The CGI dinosaurs look incredibly realistic, and with a production budget of over $150 million, I’d expect nothing less.

Although a lot of effort has been put into the production, I can’t recommend you go and see this film. There are too many eye-roll inducing moments, and it’s so lacking in logic that it becomes laughable. Go see it if you want to look at some amazing dinosaur creature effects, but if not, I’d suggest you skip this one.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is available in Australian cinemas from June 21 

Image (c) Universal Pictures 2018

Movie Review – Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story is great fun, but one must ask the question: why was it ever made?

⭐ ⭐ ½
Zachary Cruz-Tan

Han Solo, the hero of Solo: A Star Wars Story, has been a mythic figure since 1977. He’s a charming, roguish hunk who plays by his own rules, scoffs at authority and occasionally obeys the commands of his heart. He’s also a character many students of Star Wars love dearly. But I suspect, after watching this new Star Wars adventure, many of those students will want to protest.

This is first and foremost a movie designed for fans of the beloved franchise. It doesn’t have the parts to satisfy the indifferent, except of course in scenes where spaceships swoop around maelstroms and blasters are fired left, right and centre. It’s a story that’s rooted in the history of the galaxy far, far away, and so every little detail matters. Or at least it should.

Solo tells the story of Han (Alden Ehrenreich), from his tortured existence on a tyrannical planet and blossoming courtship with fellow slave Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), to his early success as a professional smuggler and ace pilot of the Millennium Falcon. It also answers such questions as the birth of his name, how he founded his eternal bromance with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), and how he completed the famed ‘Kessel Run’ in 12 parsecs. I don’t recall ever asking these questions, or indeed wanting them shown to me in such unimaginative plainness, but there you have it. The myth has been stripped away from the man.

Doesn’t matter. Solo: A Star Wars Story is decent, honest fun. It doesn’t seem to have a care in the world, which is what any successful Star Wars movie should strive for. The plot is more basic than a vanilla sponge cake. The characters are scribbled in from bits and pieces of characters past. Its humour is nothing but second-hand gags. There is not a moment when you fear for anyone’s safety. There are weird planets, obligatory lounge acts and endless battles. It’s a movie programmed to keep you smiling from start to finish.

The battles, of course, are very well filmed and seem to occupy much of the movie’s runtime. Han, desperate to pilot a ship that will allow him to rescue his beloved from the clutches of bondage, teams up with a thief called Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), who himself is working for criminal mastermind Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany).

Their quest leads them to Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), an expert smuggler whose co-pilot is L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), a radical droid that walks and talks with the sass for change. She crusades for droid equality, an idea that makes sense today but otherwise rubbed me the wrong way completely. No-one goes to a Star Wars movie for lessons in social politics. At least I don’t.

But perhaps I’m speaking too much like a Star Wars fanatic and not giving enough weight to the positives? Possibly. However, I see no other way to discuss a Star Wars movie, since I’ve spent most of my life with them. They feed into each other and can no longer be judged independently.

This one doesn’t measure up to its predecessors in terms of stakes and depth – and it might upset diehard Han Solo followers who feel they’ve been duped by midichlorians again – but in the hands of Ron Howard it just scrapes through. Am I itching to see it again? I’m afraid not. Not even a little.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is available in Australian cinemas from May 24

Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Movie Review – Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 is back and bigger than ever with his very own sequel. But this time, the stakes are greater, as is the body count and the number of gags about how much the X-Men suck.

⭐ ⭐  ½
Josip Knezevic

Coming off a high from the original, Deadpool 2 unfortunately misses the mark in terms of comedy. Poorly made on a technical front (a gripe that carries over the first movie), blighted by horrendous direction and with just enough story to elevate it above complete failure, the brightest crayon in Deadpool 2’s box is that of some interesting new characters.

By far the most disappointing aspect of Deadpool 2 is how desperately unfunny it is. With only a handful of moments that elicit more than a smile, most of the gags that populate its 119-minute runtime are safe and boring, with little of the wit or meta-like charm of the original carrying over from the original. Strangely, the writing talent is the same, with the only additional writer being the star of the show himself, Ryan Reynolds.

The direction, this time in the hands of David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde), is nothing to write home about; a collection of close-ups and shot-reverse-shots that lack variety and smack of inattention. In a series that is all about defying convention, why not show us something inventive or dynamic? Alas, very little of these two qualities can be found in Deadpool 2. The action scenes aren’t much better, with jumbled editing and harried cuts softening the impact of the fisticuffs.

That’s not to say Deadpool 2 is without redeeming qualities; the introduction of Domino (Zazie Beetz), a hero in possession of boundless amount of luck, is executed with aplomb and makes for some of the film’s more entertaining action beats.

Though it doesn’t boast great dialogue, the plot does at least wriggle around and twist itself into something unexpected. The villain isn’t who you would expect and is cast against type, which adds an element of originality to proceedings. That said, that’s all she wrote. Deadpool 2 wasn’t the fulfillment of the film it needed to be and sadly doesn’t live up to the high bar set by its predecessor. Reynolds is great, and as always has impeccable comedic timing, but a mere one or two breakout performances don’t make for a particularly great ensemble action film. Temper those expectations and maybe you’ll garner something greater from this mess than I did.

Deadpool 2 is available in Australian cinemas from May 17 

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Movie Review – Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War may not break new ground, but it certainly polishes it.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Zachary Cruz-Tan 

I cannot account for your feelings towards the Marvel Cinematic Universe, nor anyone else’s. I can only account for my own, and my feelings have decided that the Universe is something special. To see each new Marvel movie is to add a chapter to a saga. As reviewers, we are perhaps encouraged to distance ourselves a little from every film we see, but make no mistake, to enter into Avengers: Infinity War is to enter a stream that’s been flowing for ten years. We may try to combat the current but it will inevitably wash us away.

This is a thunderous superhero movie that hurtles along at breakneck speed. It is about the end of humanity, the heartbreak of sacrifice, the will to bring about change, the pratfalls and jubilations of the human spirit. And, of course, it brings together a cast large enough to populate a small moon. Credit must be given to directors Anthony and Joe Russo for not going utterly bonkers from their logistics, but then, are they perhaps merely binding knots left loose by the countless instalments before them?

In many ways, yes. Infinity War begins with the simplest of premises: an oversized purple alien called Thanos (an utterly bewitching Josh Brolin in motion-capture) wishes to eliminate half the universe’s population by seizing cosmic weapons known as Infinity Stones. The movie plays out his quest and charts the ways in which all the good guys attempt to resist him.

If you’ve been keeping up with the movies, you’d know them all by now. The smart thing about Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s screenplay is that instead of bottlenecking the cast into one room, several throwaway subplots are created to micromanage the Avengers.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) zips off with a few Guardians of the Galaxy to rendezvous with a rather unexpected cameo. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) venture into space. Captain America (Chris Evans) and his friends take a trip to Wakanda, domain of the fearful Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). And so on. Everyone’s spread around like mah-jong tiles, which, while clever, can be a little jarring to keep up with.

Much criticism has already been targeted at the movie’s 149-minute runtime, which is actually about fifteen minutes too short. Infinity War dashes from one scene to the next, occasionally pausing for comedic interludes, but hardly ever for any meaningful interactions. I guess it comes with the territory of trying to cram a bloated cast into a runtime that must pacify today’s audiences. The movie needs to breathe a little, not necessarily for exposition, but to give us, the viewers, a chance to process all the whizzing and frenetic images, because there are a lot of them.

And yet, Infinity War is a tremendous achievement, not atop the Marvel greats, but perhaps more valuable than many of the weaker ones. There are fantastic action sequences, a boatload of one-liners, heroic reveals, shattering developments. And Thanos, enlarged in the middle of everything, is a surprisingly complex figure, not so much an antagonist as a lonely crusader whose journey threatens to undo even himself.

It’s quite a feat to make us care so much about a bunch of goofy superheroes. This cinematic universe feels like an extended TV series; we’ve grown along with these characters through the years to the point where their superpowers are no longer as interesting as their stakes. And in Avengers: Infinity War, their stakes have never been more desperate.

Avengers: Infinity War is available in Australian cinemas from April 26

Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Movie Review – Rampage

Giant monsters face off with The Rock in Rampage, a film that doesn’t feel the need to offer anything more than a basic concept.

 

⭐ ⭐ ½
Rhys Pascoe

You know those direct-to-video monster mash movies that The Asylum and Syfy put out a few years ago, with titles like Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus and Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf? Well, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s latest blockbuster Rampage is essentially the $120 million version of that, only with bigger names, bigger biceps and a bigger appetite.

Loosely adapted from a video game series of the same name from the 80s, Rampage sees Johnson play Davis Okoye, a primatologist whose beloved albino, silverback gorilla George goes bananas after being infected with a mysterious serum that modifies his genes. Rapidly growing in size, speed and aggression, George fights alongside a giant grey wolf and an even larger crocodile as they tear through the streets of Chicago, while Davis must find a way to bring an end to the carnage.

Johnson has made a name for himself off the back of muscular action movies, and Rampage is probably his most outlandish yet. Reteaming with San Andreas director Brad Peyton, Johnson once again tells subtlety and grace to go suck it in a film that sees the beefy wrestler/actor steal a helicopter on three separate occasions, as well as stare down a giant mutant crocodile with nothing more than a grenade launcher and a plain white tee. He does uphold that squeaky-clean family man image though, rebuffing the advances of thirsty female interns at his work. What a man.

The plot, which sees Johnson join forces with Naomie Harris’ woolly scientist character, speeds along without a care or a worry for weighty concepts like logic. Because, let’s be honest, who cares how and why things happen the way they do – we just want to see a massive gorilla slap a giant wolf across its snarling maw, and Rampage dutifully obliges. The entire third act is dedicated to the titular riot, which sees the beast tear through downtown Chicago, flinging helicopters and upturning Humvees. It’s frankly amazing that four screenwriters were required to piece together the remarkably simplistic script.

However, as dumb and silly as that stuff sounds, I reckon Rampage could’ve done with even more dumb and silly stuff. Johnson relishes the chance to gaze into the middle distance and spout some catchy one-liner, but more often than not it’s uttered with sincerity, not his trademark eyebrow-wiggling bravura. The action is too heavy-handed with the 9/11 imagery and too light on the Donkey Kong arcade noise that one would expect from giant animals trampling cities. While the premise sounds goofy, director Peyton stops short of fully embracing Rampage’s inherent wackiness, and instead tries to balance video game madness with some straight-laced seriousness.

Rampage is available in Australian cinemas from April 12 

Image courtesy of Roadshow Films

Movie Review – Ready Player One

Steven Spileberg’s newest film Ready Player One takes us on a thrilling entertainment ride, but you’ll know exactly what’s going to happen from the moment it starts.

⭐ ⭐ ½
Josip Knezevic

At the start of Ready Player One, Spielberg suggests his new movie is intended to present a potential future for Earth in 2044. The society we are introduced to is one that sets aside reality and focuses instead on creating new worlds through virtual simulation. This is known as the OASIS, which if you really want to know, stands for: Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation. I know, it’s a mouthful. The OASIS is the brainchild of game developer James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who’s death provides players the opportunity to gain complete ownership of the game if they can hunt down three Easter Egg keys hidden inside the simulation. Enter stage right, young and ambitious, but hopeless dreamer: Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan).

As we watch Wade hunt down these three magical keys, the film itself takes on a video game feel, and just like most games, Ready Player One follows a classic structure. From the get-go, we all know the hero will rise and inevitably overcome all three levels to ultimately defeat the villain (Ben Mendelsohn) who wants to take control of OASIS for his own evil pursuits. This is all well and good if you’re satisfied with a predictable film and a simple formula, and when you think about it, many of Spielberg’s films fall into this category.

Spielberg is a director who likes telling stories that get wrapped up in a nice little box, with all the conflicts resolved by the end of the film so you’re not left wanting more He’s done this for Jurassic Park, E.T the Extra-Terrestrial and many others. It’s why his films have grossed a stupendous amount of money and is one of the reasons he’s become one of today’s most popular directors. But does this mean he’s a filmmaker who challenges you to think about what his film has to say, long after the credits have rolled? Probably not. He’s not a Stanley Kubrick or a Terry Gilliam.

Nevertheless, I’d still recommend seeing this film. Some of the action sequences are fantastic, particularly in the opening and final scenes. I also enjoyed a lot of the nostalgic references to the 80’s, even though the film is set in the future. Even though it’s cliched and predictable, with familiar plot structures and character tropes, Ready Player One is still a blast and a fun ride.

Ready Player One is available in Australian cinemas from March 29 

Image courtesy of Roadshow Films 

 

Movie Review – Pacific Rim: Uprising

Ready for round two? Those rock’em sock’em robots are squaring off with giant monsters once again in Pacific Rim: Uprising.

⭐ ⭐ ½
Rhys Graeme-Drury

With newly-minted Best Director Guillermo del Toro off filming fish sex with Sally Hawkins and a merman, the Pacific Rim franchise has been farmed out to Universal and lead actor Charlie Hunnam has been subbed out for everyone’s favourite London geezer cum stormtrooper, John Boyega.

In fact, very little of the original Pacific Rim has been retained in this sequel; a mostly fresh cast is one thing, but a wholly different tone – one which is less grounded and more cartoonish – has been established as well. Incoming director Steven DeKnight (Marvel’s Daredevil) dials up the colour and swaps del Toro’s trademark lived-in detailing for flashy visuals and a whizz-bang Apple store aesthetic.

This might come as a disappointment for some, especially those who felt del Toro’s 2013 original struck an effective balance between auteurist homage to Japanese kaiju cinema and Saturday morning Power Rangers sugar rush. Uprising leans more towards the latter, and definitely feels like a studio pouring money into a vessel it feels will sell heaps of plastic action figures and lock in at least another two or three films later down the track.

That’s where the film is going narratively as well; Uprising is set 10 years after the events of Pacific Rim and sees Boyega’s renegade Jake Pentecost, son of Idris Elba‘s Stacker, reunited with his old Jaeger unit when evil once again rears its ugly head in the form of even larger sea monsters and even a couple of rogue robots for good measure. Uprising introduces swathes of new characters that it desperately wants you to latch onto, from Boyega’s boyish hero to Scott Eastwood‘s brooding co-pilot Nate and Cailee Spaeny as plucky scrapper Amara.

A team of bickering junior pilots are also along for the ride, giving the film something of a David versus Goliath element, especially in its third act. Of the new additions, it’s only Boyega and Spaeny that stick in the memory, thanks in part to some fun banter and onscreen chemistry. The rest of the cast is largely forgettable, a feeling which projects across the plot and the film as a whole to be brutally honest.

While I found myself along for the ride in the heat of the moment, Pacific Rim: Uprising doesn’t have the same staying power as the first film. It’s a whole lot of colour and noise with very little payoff, and while the action is undoubtedly fun and satisfying in a building-smashing, sword-clashing, skull-stomping kind of way, it lacks the same emotional punch as del Toro’s first film.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is available in Australian cinemas from March 22 

Image (c) Universal Pictures 2018