In Pacific Rim, man and machine are molded perfectlyinto 1 epic sci-fi film that’s an adventurous amalgam of fluid fighting and weapons flying. Legendary Picture’s latest offering is visceral, messy and clearly engineered to be a smashing success with testosterone-filled males.

Director Guillermo del Toro has translated Japanese animation into hyper-realism with a Western concept, describing his actual intent for Pacific Rim as introducing the ‘kaiju’ and ‘mecha’ genres to the younger generations. Oriental influences may have paid off for del Toro, landing him the number one spot in 51 territories across the globe and topping the international box office chart.

Unsurprisingly, del Toro’s signature style (i.e. visual overload à la Pan’s Labryinth) is evident: post-Apocalyptic grit cast against the vulgar streets of Hong Kong, phenomenal CGI, and brutal battles guaranteed to scratch your primal sci-fi itch.

Composer Ramin Djawadi, known for his work on Iron Man and Game of Thrones, delivers a bold metal soundtrack that plucks on heart strings, precisely conveying the sheer grandeur of the war between behemoth beasts and mighty machines. The theme of the soundtrack is clear-cut frustration, apparent via urgent guitar riffs accompanied by an intense violin orchestra similar to typical action blockbusters such as the Iron Man trilogy.

In the 2020s, Planet Earth has come under attack by a legion of Kaijus—mammoth-sized monsters that come through a bridge between our world and theirs that materialised on the ocean floor. These Kaijus are moving masses of raw grotesque power, and seem to only have 1 objective: to destroy everything they touch. Their emergence thus begins a war that would not only lead to a grueling depletion of Earth’s resources, but also spark the loss of millions of lives.

Humanity’s answer to combating these colossal creatures would be these equally massive 15-storey tall humanoid robot mechas, also known as ‘Jaegers’. These bots are operated by 2 humans whose minds are linked via a neural bridge called The Drift that controls the mecha from within.

Unfortunately, with each successful combat brings about a new form of Kaiju, perfectly re-adapted to match each Jaeger. Mankind’s last hope manifests in the form of unlikely heroes Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), an ex-Jaeger pilot, and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), an ‘amateur’ trainee Jaeger pilot who has never been deployed. But don’t be fooled by her perfectly demure face, for this feisty character with hair dip-dyed violet kicks some serious ass. You might remember Kikuchi for her role in Babel, which saw her becoming the first Japanese in 50 years to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Under the guidance of big boss Stacker Pentecost (Golden Globe winner, Idris Elba), also Mori’s ‘foster father’ – the duo’s mission is to save the world from defeat. This sparks a spectacle of warfare between the humans and the Kaijus, loaded to the brim with climatic punches and del Toro’s imaginative ways of achieving monumental destruction allowing the Jaegers and Kaijus to tear through the weathered streets of Hong Kong, not unlike their giant robot cousins in the Transformers series. Fortunately, Pacific Rim relies less on flashy explosions and as a result, feels more immersive.

However, it almost seems as if you’re intended to watch this sans rationality. Pacific Rim is not only incredibly fast-paced, but illogical and inconsistent, with plot-holes just a tad smaller than the 15 storey machines weaved amongst them, like the Class 5 Kaiju being dealt with in lightning quick response time towards the end of the film. Due to the little background information being supplied on the Kaijus, viewers are left guessing or confused, and would certainly benefit from a richer back story.

Character development is sadly weak and underwhelming, save for the witty dialogue and perfectly crafted one-liners from 2 idiosyncratic doctors, Dr Newton Geizler (Charlie Day) and Dr Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman). The delightful vivacity and entertaining banter between them are perhaps the saving grace of Pacific Rim, compensating for a mediocre storyline that relies too much on its action scenes. But with the copious amounts of fistfights and amazingly illustrated monsters and machines adding to the visual experience all at the same time, you can’t help but wonder if a strong plot really matters for such a mesmerising and involving film.

That said, the attention to intricate details such as the neural bridge the pilots share, and each country having their own Jaegers machines and pilots, hint at how determined the creators were in crafting an experience completely unique to Pacific Rim. Delving deeper into the drift state, the influences from alternative streams of consciousness and lucid dreaming are beautifully drawn out, adding tiny easter eggs for anime fans.

With yet another visually stunning behemoth of a film from Legendary Pictures, following in the footsteps of films like Man of Steel, Wrath of the Titans and Inception, monsters will bleed, men will fall and UrbanWire guarantees that Pacific Rim will redefine your definition of “visually breathtaking”.

Rating: 3.5/5

Release Date: 11 July 2013

Runtime: 131 min

Language: English

Censorship Rating: PG-13

Genre: Action, Science-Fiction

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Main Actors: Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Idris Elba