Sunday, March 18, 2018

Jaeger versus Kaiju Round 2 in Pacific Rim Uprising

In just a few days, Earth will be in jeopardy as gargantuan Kaiju (translation from Japanese as “strange beast”) invade once again in Pacific Rim: Uprising. Mega-robot Jaegers (translation from German as “hunter”) will be unleashed to protect humanity from extinction by these interdimensional monsters. This sequel movie to 2013's Pacific Rim erupts into Malaysian cinemas on 22 March.

To recap, in the year 2013 of this alternate-Earth alien sea monsters emerged from The Breach, an interdimensional rift deep in the Pacific ocean. Dubbed “Kaiju”, these massive creatures spread death and destruction amongst cities located along the pacific coastline. To fight back, nations across the world developed the Jaeger program under the Pan Pacific Defense Corps (PPDC), launching the first generation Mark 1 giant robots in late-2015 to go toe-to-toe against the Kaiju.

Whilst initially successful repelling the invasion, The Breach soon unleashed more power Kaiju more frequently. By 2025, Jaegers were being destroyed faster then they could be built. The PPDC eventually suspended the Jaeger program in favour of alternative defenses like coastal walls. The four remaining Jaegers under command of Marshal Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba).

After a devastating attack on Hong Kong destroying two more Jaegers, a last ditch plan is hatched to end the Kaiju threat once and for all by destroying the Breach. The last two combat Jaegers tasked for this critical mission are Gypsy Danger, piloted by Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) & Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), and Striker Eureka, with Pentecost and Chuck Hanson at the helm.

Despite being outnumbered by three Kaiju protecting The Breach, Gypsy Danger manages to enter the rift and self-destructs its nuclear reactor in the invader's home dimension. The Breach is sealed and the Apocalypse has been cancelled...

Well as clearly seen in the promos for Pacific Rim: Uprising, the Apocalypse was certainly not cancelled, just postponed for 10 years until a second invasion threatens mankind again to extinction.

Official movie synopsis:
The globe-spanning conflict between otherworldly monsters of mass destruction and the human-piloted super-machines built to vanquish them was only a prelude to the all-out assault on humanity in Pacific Rim: Uprising. Boyega stars as the rebellious Jake Pentecost, a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous ‘Kaiju.’ Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through our cities and bring the world to its knees, he is given one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy by his estranged sister, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) — who is leading a brave new generation of pilots that have grown up in the shadow of war.

As they seek justice for the fallen, their only hope is to unite together in a global uprising against the forces of extinction. Jake is joined by gifted rival pilot Lambert (Scott Eastwood) and 15-year-old Jaeger hacker Amara (Cailee Spaeny), as the heroes of the PPDC become the only family he has left. Rising up to become the most powerful defence force to ever walk the earth, they will set course for a spectacular all-new adventure on a towering scale.

Look forward to more Jaegers in action for Pacific Rim: Uprising
By the year 2035 the Jaeger Program has been reinstated by the PPDC with new pilots recruited for the most advanced Mark 6 mega-robots. Many are new faces but supported by some returning heroes from the first Kaiju invasion. Here's a brief introduction of our protagonists:

Left to right: Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny), Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood).
Despite being the son of Marshal Pentacost, Jake quit the Jaeger program and instead becomes a black market dealer in Jaeger parts. His relationship with his father became estranged when Stacker chose Mako as his prodigy. Nevertheless, Mako remains vigilant on her adopted brothers activities and endeavours to keep him out of real trouble.

An orphan of the first Kaiju invasion, Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny) lives on the fringe scavenging for parts to built her own Jaeger. More of her backstory is now available as a webtoon titled Pacific Rim: Amara. Here's the comic synopsis:
As the Kaiju Wars rage on, Pacific Rim: Amara follows the young heroine whose life shattered when she is orphaned during a devastating monster attack. Fighting to survive as her city is destroyed, she finds shelter with a grumpy mech-inventor named Kai and his closest companion, Hannah. The trio forms an unlikely family in the aftermath of the invasion, looking out for one another and scavenging old mech parts to build their very own Jaeger, a pilotable giant robot with the power to protect Amara from the monsters that took everything from her.

No secret in the trailers we see her being recruited into the Jaeger program as a cadet piloting Bracer Phoenix.

Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) and Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) suit-up to pilot Gypsy Avenger.
Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) is one of the best Jaeger pilots in the PPDC and previously training with Jake. The two will reunited in face of the new Kaiju invasion.

Rinko Kikuchi returns as an older Mako Mori as an official in the PPDC.
Other than Rinko Kikuchi reprising her role as Mako Mori, other returning characters from the first movie are the science nerd duo of Dr. Newton “Newt” Geiszler played by Charlie Day and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb played by Burn Gorman.

Dr. "Newt" Geiszler (Charlie Day, above) returns with Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman, below) to nerd-out over new Kaiju.

Strangely there is no sign of lead protagonist Raleigh Beckett who, along with Mako Mori, survived sealing The Breach. One more surviving Jaeger pilot was Herc Hanson, who took over the position of Marshal from the elder Pentecost, is also missing from the trailers. Hopefully there will be some reference to their fates in Pacific Rim: Uprising, or we would have to simply assumed they retired for good finding no compatible pilot to Drift (process when two Jaeger pilots synchronize their thoughts to share the neural load to control the giant robot). But the real world reason for Raleigh's absence is scheduling conflict of actor Charlie Hunnam as gleaned from his interviews.

Hear from the cast of Pacific Rim: Uprising from this featurette released in Tokyo Comic-Con 2017.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is written and directed by Steven S. DeKnight. There are immediate differences in the style of this sequel compared to the first movie which was directed by Academy Award Winning Mexican Director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, The Shape of Water). Based on the action clips seen so far from promo moaterials, the action in this upcoming movie looks much more animated by loosing a sense of scale for the Jaegers and Kaiju from the way they move and their interactions with the environment. No doubt these elements are all CG in both movies but Del Toro's style seemed to have infused more mass behind the robots, monsters and city destruction.

This early teaser trailer almost looks like a commercial for toy Jaeger robots.

The new Mark 6 Jaegers leap into action.
Now about the Jaegers, this movie's leading war machine is Gypsy Avenger, a Mark 6 model built in the image of Gypsy Danger which was heroically destroyed to end the Kaiju invasion. Piloted by Jake Pentecost and Nate Lambert, the 81.8m towering Jaeger features upgraded versions of the Elbow Rocket, Chain Swords and Plasma Cannon. New to Gypsy Avenger's weapon arsenal is a Gravity Sling. Check out these weapon in action from this trailer:

Gypsy Avengers is unmistakably an evolution of Gypsy Danger, now with 2 power cores.

Brand new Jaeger Saber Athena is the fastest and sleekest model with a feminine silhoutte. As can be seen the following trailer its primary weapons are dual wielding blades. It also packs some mean kung-fu kicks.

Complimenting Gypsy Avenger and Saber Athena with more melee weapons, Guardian Bravo is armed with an Elec-16 Arc Whip, although in the following trailer it seems somewhat less effective. This Jaeger is designed for ranged combat and so includes the “middle finger” in its assortment of gimmicks.

Guardian Bravo activating its Elec-15 Arc Whip.

The slightly older model Mark 5 Bracer Phoenix appears brutish and provides artillery support from chest mounted Vortex Cannons. However it does not actually come equipped with the M19 Morning Star as seen in this trailer, which we surmise is “borrowed” from Titan Redeemer, a Mark 6 model.

 Bracer Phoenix (left) and Titan Redeemer

There is also what's dubbed the “evil” Jaeger named Obsidian Fury. It appears as a cross between Gypsy Avenger and Saber Athena with Twin Plasma Chainsaws plus shoulder mounted rockets. Watch it fight Gypsy Avenger in this clip:

As for the Kaiju, not much is known yet about them other than the names of Raijin, Hakuja and Shrikethorn. No secret from the trailers, the Kaiju have evolved with new power to combine into a Mega-Kaiju! This in indeed twisting around the common gimmick in Japanese pop culture where a team of robots combine into a BIGGER robot, but this time it is the monsters doing this.

Will the younger Pentecost, Major Lambert and their team of cadet pilots succeed to repel this new Kaiju invasion? Find out in just a few days when Pacific Rim: Uprising releases into cinemas on Thursday 22 March 2018. Those who can't wait that long can buy tickets for sneak previews starting the night before.

A handful of us Outpost geeks managed to catch the Movie Premiere of Pacific Rim Uprising at MBO Cinemas. Here are their immediate reactions after the screening:

Plus our more in-depth Vulcan Review of Pacific Rim Uprising by Mr. Smock and guest reviewer Vincent:

For more about the world of Pacific Rim, check out the official website at and follow their official Facebook Page, Instagram and Twitter. Dubbing Jaeger pilots can enlist at the Jaeger Academy which contains challenges of daily trivia and weapon precision firing. You can also build you own Jaeger from parts of existing models and test Drift compatibility. Then get your Jaeger name from this auto-generator.

Following hype over the first movie, fans from the Outpost Productions studio put together our own Malaysian Jaeger Mark 2 codenamed Juara Tenggara to defend our shores from Kaiju invasion:

Let us see if Pacific Rim: Uprising warrants an upgrade of Juara Tenggara to a Mark 6 version.  

More recently Outpost Productions conducted our final Geek Fan Panel on Facebook Live discussing about Pacific Rim and expectations of the upcoming movie. We shot live from Amenic Film Space with a live "studio audience" participating in our chit chat. Here's the full panel video posted on our Facebook Page:

Pacific Rim panel discussion happening now LIVE!
Posted by Outpost Productions on Sunday, 18 March 2018

Coming to special intel by our Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T.), there is good news that more official movie merchandise is being made for this sequel movie.

Starting with what we do know, our major cinema chains have a number of movie premiums available right now. From MBO Cinemas, their Pacific Rim: Uprising combo offers an LED cup shaped like the head of Gypsy Avenger. A single combo of the cup and regular popcorn is priced as RM33, whilst a Share Combo comes with 2 cups and large popcorn.

In addition they have a Limited Edition Pacific Rim: Uprising version of their Allstar member card. It's is free for new members whilst existing members can change their card to this version for a minimal fee.  

Finally, Premium-X Cinemas in OneCity USJ is giving away movie premiums through contest posted on their Facebook. Email answers by 31 March for chance to win tshirt and other giveaways.

This time around for toys, Bandai and Diamond Select Toys have both obtain license for official Jaeger action figures. Starting first with Bandai, Pacific Rim: Uprising falls under their Tamashii Nations line of Robot Spirits action figures with all five hero Jaegers represented plus one “evil” Obsidian Fury. These are priced quite affordably at USD29.99 each (RM117) releasing around this time in time for the movie. There is also a high end Chogokin figurine of Gypsy Danger. Check out more photo references from New York Toy Fair 2017 by

Bandai Tamashii Nations Robot Spirits Pacific Rim: Uprising line of Jaeger action figures.
Photo credit:, Cheryl Eddy.
LATEST HOT INTEL: Secret Base Toys at Amcorp Mall is bringing him these Pacific Rim Uprising Robot Spirits figures. Arriving last weekend were Gypsy Avenger (RM138) and Bracer Phoenix (RM168) plus Kaiju Raijin (RM198), all meant to be to scale. For high-end premium collectors, there is a Soul Of Chogokin GX-77 Gypsy Danger for RM1198. Check directly with the shop for current stock availability.

Sighted at local collectibles shoop Secret Base are these Robot Spirits Gypsy Avenger and Bracer Phoenix.

Make your own Jaeger vs. Kaiju epic battles with these articulated figures from Bandai Tamashii Nations.
Bandai is also releasing model assembly kits for Gypsy Avenger and Obsidian Fury under their HG series. These are priced respectively at USD16 (RM63) and USD19 (RM74) by Hobby Link Japan, with a Deluxe version of Gypsy Avenger with LEDlight for USD25 (RM98).

Latest Outpost local intel has spotted some of these Bandai HG model kits available from Toy Garden in Pavilion KL with Obsidian Fury and Bracer Phoenix priced at RM89.90 (pictured below). These are also available from their online store together with some figures by NECA for the first movie.

The cheapest alternative for Jaeger figurines, just requiring some assembly.
For the more hardcore fans, metallic versions of these two Jaegers are also available exclusively There is also a metallic version of Bracer Phoenix. Each is priced either USD48 (RM188) or USD50 (RM196) and all three could be sold as a set for USD 130 (RM508).

The exclusive metallic versions of Bandai's HG series Gypsy Avengers, Obsidian Fury and Bracer Phoenix.

From the American-based Diamond Select Toys, all six Jaegers are similarly available as action figures measuring between 7 to 8 inches in height. They come at a lower price point of USD25 only (RM98). For the Jaegers to get into action, they are also releasing Kaiju Hakuja which runs 12in from head to tail apparently to scale with the robots. However these figures only look to be releasing later this year between June to August and now available for local pre-order from Books Kinokuniya Malaysia as listed on their online store at a very reasonable price of RM107.58 each.

Diamond Select Toys Jaeger action figures 

Be careful this vinyl Kaiju toy doesn't freak our your mum thinking it's a mutated monitor lizard!
Now this question will certainly be asked: get your Jaegers from Bandai or Diamond Select Toys? Unfortunately, we found no reliable intel on where to get these action figures in Malaysia and so unable to inspect them for an educated opinion. So we have to redirect the question to these YouTubers sharing their opinions:

Like all blockbuster movie releases, there is usually a companion book detailing the production of the said movie. Insight Editions will be publishing The Art and Making of Pacific Rim Uprising providing behind-the-scenes intel and concept art. The companion book for the first Pacific Rim was a great read and this one should similarly shine for fans to geek out over the many details providing more context for this cinematic outing.

The Art and Making of Pacific Rim looks scheduled to release next month on with pre-order price of USD40.50 (RM158) and also on Books Kinokuniya Malaysia for RM193.73 although listed as out-of-stock.

To fill in the gap between the first and sequel movie, there is a six-issue comic books series titled Pacific Rim Aftermath by Legendary Comics, a subsidiary of Legendary Pictures itself. Based on the official synopsis below, much of the story looks to take place a year before the events of the upcoming movie:

Cover of Pacific Rim Aftermath issue 1.
Santa Monica, 2034. In a city that was once the jewel of the west coast, a new world has emerged: one rising up from the ashes of giant robots and giant monsters. In this futuristic aftermath, we will meet a new generation of survivors, including Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, who is searching for answers behind the death of his Legendary father; Griffin, a Jaeger pilot who has gone from using his skills to defend the world to piloting an illegal Jaeger enforcer for a mob boss; and the Mech Czar, a techno-criminal overlord who rules the underworld with a steel fist. Set against a neo-noir backdrop of street gangs, Kaiju worshipers, and Jaeger Scrapyards, a mysterious but familiar figure arrives with a dangerous agenda...

Hannibal Chau is back! And he
doesn't look too happy on this cover art
of issue 2.
So we would get introduced to Jake Pentecost in this comics prior to his appearance in the movies. But as with most movie tie-ins what happens to the lead protagonist should not matter to the flow of the actual movie and therefore just provide more background into this character whilst further fleshing out the world of Pacific Rim. That being said, it means the plight of the two other characters mentioned in the synopsis is unlikely to have any bearing in Pacific Rim Uprising. But fans of the first movie may be delighted to see return of a familiar face... Hannibal Chau! No spoiler from the mid-credits scene of Pacific Rim, Chau did survive being "eaten" by a baby-Kaiju and looks to be back in the underworld business.

Since the importation of new comic books into Malaysia has seriously declined in recent years, it is unlikely to find Pacific Rim Aftermath in local comic stores (the few that are still left!). Instead opt for a digital version with the first two issues already available via at USD3.99 each (RM15.60). The online store listing also includes previews of the first three pages of each issue for reader to get a feel of the art style and story beats.

For fans who really can't get enough of Pacific Rim: Uprising, there is a prequel novel titled Ascension. This is the official synopsis:

It's been ten years since humanity's war with the monstrous Kaiju ended and the Breach at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean was sealed. The Pan Pacific Defense Corps remains vigilant in anticipation of the Kaiju's return, expanding and advancing their fleet of massive mechs known as Jaegers and accepting the best and the brightest candidates into the Jaeger Academy Training Program to forge the next generation of heroes.

Training is competitive and positions are few. Ou-Yang Jinhai and Viktoriya Malikova grew up in the ashes of the Kaiju War and followed different paths to join the latest batch of cadets at the Moyulan Shatterdome, the most prestigious PPDC training location in the world. Yet not long after their arrival, tragedy strikes as a deadly act of sabotage casts suspicion on the new cadets. Together they must work to clear their name and discover the truth as dark forces conspire against them and new threats surface from both sides of the Breach...

This novel is already out and available from Book Kinokuniya Malaysia as listed on their online store for RM39.06, although currently out of stock. It is still in-stock from which also offers a digital Kindle version.

Tactical miniature gamers may be keen for the Pacific Rim Extinction Game on Kickstarter. The game brief reads as follows:
Pacific Rim: Extinction is a scenario-driven, tabletop miniatures strategy game of city-wide destruction and chaos of epic proportions, for two or more players. Join either the Pan Pacific Defence Corps or the invading Kaiju, and face off in a battle with the ultimate stake: extinction.

The game has already been funded with expected delivery in November this year. Pledge for the Core Set is priced at GBP35 (RM190) and Starter Bundle for GBP65 (RM354), excluding shipping.

Gamers preferring digital app-based fare can look out for Pacific Rim Breach Wars coming out soon on IOS and Android. Players take the role of a Marshal commanding a Shatterdome to defend against Kaiju invasions and rogue Jaegers. Find out more from the official game website.

Before closing off, check out this very cute LEGO version of the Pacific Rim: Uprising trailer:

Let's CANCEL THE APOCALYPSE in cinemas 22 March 2018.

Disclaimer: Pacific Rim and its trademarks are copyright to Legendary Pictures & their respective owners, referenced here for fan service announcements without intent to infringe.

1 comment:

  1. I truly enjoyed Pacific Rim 2 at yidio movies. The story was far from perfect, but I liked the fact that they were trying to do more with the plot than just monsters appearing to fight robots. There was a plot twist that I didn't really see coming and I liked the idea and realisation of a batch of new, young Jaeger pilots better than I thought I would.
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