Giant robots fight giant monsters!  This is about all you need to know about Pacific Rim, an action movie that is big on big effects, short on originality, and a waste of the directing talent of Guillermo del Toro.
In the near future, a dimensional rift in the, well, Pacific Rim sends out giant monsters that humanity names Kaiju.  After conventional weapons prove too costly, the nations of the world build Jaegers: giant robots, guided by two pilots connected by a neural interface called the Drift.  At first the Jaegers are extremely effective, but soon more powerful Kaiju emerge, Jaegers start getting destroyed, and the world abandons the Jaeger program for a series of giant walls that don't work at all.

Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) wants to keep the Jaeger program going, so he relocates his resources to Hong Kong with a mission: Destroy the dimensional rift.  He recruits Raleigh Beckett (Charlie Hunnam), a once-successful Jaeger pilot who got burned out when his co-pilot and brother was killed.  Mako Mori (Rino Kikuchi) is a protege of Pentecost's, and she wants to be a Jaeger pilot (not to mention love interest for Beckett).  Scientists Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) are in the program to learn the creature's goals and weaknesses -- and they're in the movie for comic relief.  And Ron Perlman is there as Hannibal Chau, a black-market dealer in Kaiju remains.
All the plotting -- which includes hidden agendas, romantic angles, last-minute complications, and pilot rivalries -- is secondary to seeing the last four Jaegers (all varied in design, and abilities) slug it out with a number of Kaiju (all varied in design and abilities).  While the battles are a little entertaining at first, Pacific Rim soon feels like a high-budget Godzilla movie.  The Kaiju behave inconsistently as the plot dictates, the battles are often confusing (not to mention reliant on suddenly-introduced weapons and slow motion), and the whole thing feels shamelessly designed to please audiences looking for simple pleasures.  Pacific Rim is the stereotypical summer blockbuster -- lots of effects, little else.

Overall grade: D+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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