Movie Review: 'Pacific Rim' -- 2 stars
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
Starring Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kinkuchi
A whole lot happens in "Pacific Rim," Guillermo Del Toro's hybrid of just about every major cinematic genre. And none of it means much.
The film is part "Transformers" and part "Godzilla" -- an action spectacle and a cheesy monster movie in which gigantic robots called Jaegers represent humanity's last hope against a race of giant alien-monsters called Kaiju, who emerged from the sea and have destroyed much of the world.
It owes a serious sci-fi debt to everything from "The Matrix" to "Blade Runner" in its portrait of humans mind-melding with machines during a dystopian future.
There are romantic comedy elements, chiefly in the flirtation between characters played by Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kinkuchi. Charlie Day and Burn Gorman play comic relief scientists straight out of a D-grade flick you'd expect to find on "Mystery Science Theater." There's family drama and a harrowing war-torn flashback.
Idris Elba does the stern military leader thing, breathing heavily and giving an inspirational speech promising to "cancel the apocalypse."
And there's Ron Perlman, who is practically a genre unto himself, playing an underworld character called Hannibal Chau.
It's simultaneously too much and not enough, an all-encompassing approach that can't disguise the serious narrative flaws at the heart of this ambitious, movie. The story concerns humanity's last hope, the Jaeger program, with massive robots battling aliens. But the aliens attack on a sporadic basis and the movie is only interested in the Jaegers, hardly concerned with how this invasion might have affected everyday life.