*** out of ****
First off, to call Pacific Rim a Transformers rehash is an insult. It's more reminiscent to Stuart Gordon's Robot Jox (1989) and the late 1960s Japanese television series Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot. In fact, Pacific Rim's genesis does lie in the Japanese giant monster "Kaiju" films of cinema past like the Godzilla or Gamera monster rallies. Besides, this is not directed by hack Michael Bay, but a very good filmmaker, Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth).
In the near future, huge creatures from another dimension invade Earth. Giant robots, called Jaegers and piloted by two humans, are constructed to battle the beasts. Hot shot pilot Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) is the best at dispatching giant monsters, but a tragic accident leaves him grounded for five years. When monster attacks become more frequent, however, Becket's former commander, Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), gets him back in a bot. Becket then sees a potential new co-pilot in the somewhat aloof Mako Mori (the gorgeous Rinko Kikuchi).
Pacific Rim is rooted in the mythic "hero's journey," giving us character types and not deep and complex characterizations. That is perfect for this film. You don't want an in-depth character study in a movie about robots vs. monsters. Of course, del Toro throws in little quirks here and there, like the control room commander with a rockabilly fashion sense (Clifton Collins Jr.), or the two bickering Odd Couple scientists (Charlie Day and Burn Gorman) who give the film some effective comedy relief.
The big reason you go to see Pacific Rim is for the robot against monster action, and it delivers in spades. The designs of both the creatures and the robots are very cool and the action itself is exciting, thanks to topnotch editing.
If you are like me and you dig movies with giant battling monsters then Pacific Rim is a dream come true. It's perfect summer fun.