Some have bizarrely accused co-writer/director Guillermo del Toro’s mighty, city-stomping epic of being a rip-off of Godzilla and related Japanese monster movies (or ‘kaiju eiga’), but this is quite obviously intended as a homage/love-letter to the beloved form, meaning that such ill-informed critics should be squashed immediately.
An opening montage informs us that huge and ugly CG monsters (‘kaiju’) have been rising from the deep for ages, and that years of fighting with gigantic, robotic ‘jaegers’ (controlled physically and psychically by Charlie Hunnam’s Raleigh Becket and others) has resulted in an impending, all-out war with meaner, smarter and nastier creatures – and humanity’s guaranteed extermination. But wait: the grief-stricken (naturally) Raleigh’s tracked down by the Commander (Idris Elba) and compelled to operate ‘Gipsy Danger’ against ‘Category 5’ beasts off Hong Kong and beyond, and the stage is set for rather glorious FX destruction aplenty.
With an unstarry cast (although del Toro’s muse Ron ‘Hellboy’ Perlman’s cool as shonky Hannibal Chau) upstaged completely by the ‘kaijus’ and the ‘jaegers’, who clash in lengthy and loud battle scenes that leave you fairly damn breathless. This does lack a little soul, but it hardly matters, as the full-throttle, über-monstrous fun more than makes up for it.