Friday, August 9, 2013


One of my 2013 resolutions was to see more movies in actual movie
theaters.  I saw Iron Man 3 earlier this year and, two nights ago,
I saw Pacific Rim.  I haven’t achieved “more” yet, but I still have
almost five months to go.

Pacific Rim was half a sure thing for me.  It had giant monsters;
I’m quite fond of those.  It also had giant robots; I kind of sort
of like those some of the time. 

In Pacific Rim, a breech to another dimension has opened up deep in
the ocean.  Giant monsters enter our world through the breech and
visit destruction and death on cities and humans.  The only weapon
that has been successful against these “kaiju” are Jaegers, giant
mecha controlled by a team of mind-linked pilots.  Unfortunately,
as the movie opens, the monsters are getting better and smarter at
fighting Jaegers.

The Jaegers program had united all the countries of Earth against
a common enemy, but is now considered obsolete.  Huge coastal walls
are being built to protect cities from the monsters.  The remaining
Jaegers - four in all - are reassigned to a single base near Hong
Kong to await the end of man on Earth.  You didn’t really think a
bunch of walls was going to stop the monsters, did you?

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, written by him and Travis Beacham,
Pacific Rim shares a lot of familiar elements with old war movies.
The main protagonist is a spirit-crushed pilot who watched his own
brother die on their last mission together.  The commander is one
tough cookie with a soft spot for the kaiju attack survivor he has
raised since she was a child and a dark secret.  The pilots include
a trio of Chinese brothers, a man-and-woman team from the Soviet,
a cocky Australian who thinks the main protagonist is a liability,
the Aussie’s career soldier father, and, that young woman raised by
the commander.  Almost no time is spent developing the Russians or
the Chinese.  You know what that means.

You’ve seen the clips and the trailers, so you don’t need me to tell you
the special effects are top-notch.  Even without the 3-D, Pacific Rim
draws you into the action and leaves you more than a little breathless. 

Kudos to del Toro and Beacham for doing an excellent job mixing the
character development with the action and the rising sense of doom.
There’s an urgency to the escalating situation and that made me all
the more interested in the characters who represented the world’s
only chance of survival.  The acting was good throughout the film.
Nothing Oscar-worthy, but solid craft that did what it was supposed
to do from start to finish.

Three non-pilot characters are worth mentioning.  Ron Perlman plays
Hannibal Chau, a black marketeer dealing in kaiju organs.  I love
Pearlman and, even though he plays this character way over the top,
he fits with the larger-than-life scale of the monsters and robots.

Charlie Day and Burn Gorman play bickering scientists whose scenes
together are gold.  Day has figured out how to link minds with the
monsters.  Gorman has figured out a mathematical method to predict
when the monsters will appear.

Pacific Rim never stops upping the ante.  One monster is bad, two
are worse.  Bigger monsters even more so.  Battle plans are drawn
and do not survive contact with the enemy.  Surprises keep coming.
This was an exhilarating night at the movies.

Pacific Rim isn’t performing well at the box office.  I went to see
it when I did because, as of today, it’s no longer running at the
local theater.  If it’s still playing at your area theaters, don’t
put off seeing it. Definitely recommended.  I enjoyed it so much I
already ordered the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. 


What with being a freak for SyFy movies, I was always gonna watch
Blast Vegas.  The casting of Frankie Muniz of Malcolm in the Middle
and Big Fat Liar fame was just delicious icing on my cheesy movie
cake.  Muniz did not disappoint.

Muniz plays a nerd among frat boys come to Vegas for spring break.
Also in town are a group of sorority girls, one of whom is Muniz’s
female counterpart, and an ancient curse that threatens to destroy
the city and everyone in it.  Always in town is Barry Bostwick as
a lounge singer who has been a Vegas performer for three decades.
Between Muniz’s often shaky courage and Bostwick’s comically sleazy
street smarts, everyone else gets blown off the small screen.  The
world needs a Muniz/Bostwick sitcom.

The blasting of Vegas happens when an ancient sword is stolen and
displayed in a casino...and when the idiot frat boys steal it and
stick it into the ground.  Then we get the supernaturally horrible
weather and a giant snake thing and decent special effects for the
kind of movie this is.  I also like the escaped tiger roaming the
devastated streets eating Elvis impersonators.  I think we’ve all
had that impulse at one time or another.

Blast Vegas is mildly entertaining, which is all I needed it to be.
The finale is delayed by a bit of padding involving a scavenger in
a hotel parking lot.  It’s a lifeless scene that would have worked
far better if they had used the tiger in it.  In fact, I was more
than a little disappointed that Muniz and the tiger didn’t team up
to lay the ancient curse to rest.  Can we add a tiger to the Muniz
and Bostwick sitcom I mentioned two paragraphs ago?

I had fun watching Blast Vegas.

Keep them coming, SyFy.

I’ll be back on Monday with more stuff. 

© 2013 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. I saw Pacific Rim in IMAX 3D and thought it was a kick in the pants. Full of joy I went to Bill Stout's the next day and he trashed the hell out of it. I kept saying, "But Bill, so it was a stupid movie, it was so well made and so much fun to watch." He wasn't buying it, but I don't care. I had a ball.