'Pacific Rim': Why don't they just shoot missiles at the kaiju?

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(Warning: Mild spoilers ahead.) Listen, I liked Pacific Rim. All those robot-monster beatdowns are good, goofy summer fun. And I am aware that, if we can get all technical for a second, the movie would be classified as a work of “fiction,” since it’s mostly about giant humanoid robots fighting giant sea monsters. This is not The Fighter. I get it.

But here’s what I don’t get. Most of the kaiju (monster things) have some kind of long-range weapon capability. They spit lasers, or they shoot electromagnetic pulses from their backs, or whatever. And every Jaeger (robot thing) has a whole bat-belt worth of toys, like missiles and swords (seriously, swords?) and some kind of blue-glowing plasma hand-cannon that seems to do the trick of bringing down kaiju pretty well.¬†

And yet every time a Jaeger squares off against a kaiju, they start out with a solid three minutes of what is essentially an epic-scale slap fight.¬†First the Jaeger punches the kaiju. Then the kaiju punches back. Or whips with its tail or bites or whatever. Then more punching. Bigger punches. Huge Ali-Frazier uppercuts that only seem to make them both mad. And only then, after they’re both good and angry, do they start to unleash the coup-de-grace weapons that actually inflict damage. Basically, it’s a lot like Mortal Kombat, where you had to whack your opponent senseless before the announcer would yell “Finish him!” and let you whip out your deadliest moves.

So here’s my dumb, cranky-man-thumping-his-cane question: Why don’t they shoot the missiles first? Why not just send two missile-stuffed Jaegers down, get them close enough so they can’t miss, and then unleash a hailstorm of missiles on the kaiju? Or better yet, don’t even build the Jaegers in the first place: just launch the bombs from planes. The kaiju probably couldn’t even touch planes since their main way of getting around is trudging through knee-deep water like old fishermen.

Sniffing for logic holes in sci-fi movies isn’t my favorite pastime, but for some reason this really bugged me — and I’m betting I’m not the only one who felt that way. Anybody else agree?

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