"KAIJU" -- JAPANESE -- MONSTER
"JAEGER" -- GERMAN -- HUNTER
PRESENT DAY. An interplanetary portal appears deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, at the meeting place of two tectonic plates. From that glowing, orange portal emerges a gigantic alien monster, a level 1 Kaiju, which stomps through San Francisco. It takes hours, and half of the military to take it down. Half of the city is destroyed, and tens of thousands of lives are lost. In the following months dozens more Kaiju emerge from the portal, laying waste to various coastal cities. The world's superpowers put aside their petty wars and squabbles and unite under a single banner. The world combines its resources and knowledge, and with it forms the Jaeger program. Massive, skyscraper-tall mechanical robotic machines capable of fighting, and defeating a Kaiju one-on-one. The technology, however, is not without its speed bumps. The first test-pilots, when piloting a Jaeger solo, suffer horrible cerebral injuries, resulting in nosebleeds, cancer and death. The Jaeger is simply too powerful for one human to pilot; it requires at least two. The program integrates a technology that allows co-pilots to meld minds, look into one another's brains, and know what action they're about to perform, and copy it. The mind-meld, or drift, is extremely touchy and can only be performed by pilots with personal bonds willing to share their deepest secrets and memories with one another.
Alaska, 2020. Alarms sound throughout a massive military hangar. Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) awakens and excitedly jumps from his bunk. It's 2 am, and his brother, and co-pilot Yancy (Diego Klattenhoff) is sluggish and sleepy. Computer monitors light-up throughout their bunk, alerting them to a Kaiju who has just emerged from the portal; it's a level 2 and the Becket brothers are on call. The pair are treated like rock-stars, like all Jaeger pilots, and are cheered-on as they make their way to the hangar and their waiting Jaeger-mech Gipsy Danger. Their commanding officer, Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) fills the brothers in as they suit up. It's a single Kaiju, swimming only a few miles off the coast of Anchorage. Their mission is to hold the port and prevent the Kaiju from leveling the city. Gipsy Danger is launched and the two brothers, who are piloting the Jaeger from within its command center-like head, wait for the Kaiju to come to them. A small vessel appears on their radar. A lone fishing boat appears between the Jaeger and Kaiju. Raleigh radios back to base; he and Yancy are going to pilot Gipsy Danger out to sea to rescue the fisherman. Pentecost tells them to stick with the plan and forget the fishing boat. The brothers ignore the order and head out to save the boat. The Jaeger picks up the boat and diverts it away from danger seconds before the massive beast launches itself out of the water and attacks the bot. The fight doesn't bode well for either side. The brothers manage to kill the Kaiju, but during the battle, Gipsy Danger loses an arm and half of its hull. Yancy is sucked out of the command hull and his vital signs drop to zero. Raleigh, having shared a neural connection with his brother, knows the moment he dies. Raleigh manages to limp the half-destroyed Jaeger back to shore and crashes it on the beach. He crawls out of the cockpit and collapses.
Five years later. The monsters emerging from the portal have become stronger and more frequent. Every day a Level 4 Kaiju emerges and attacks. The United Nations, convinced that the Jaeger program is to blame, shifts their attention to building massive seawalls to protect their cities. Pentecost is given enough funding to fund the Jaeger program for a few months, which should hopefully be enough time to protect the still under construction walls. We find Raleigh living a nomadic lifestyle, working construction on the giant wall which goes from Alaska to California. Raleigh is still scarred, both physically and mentally, by the loss of his brother. He's refused to step back into a Jaeger ever since he lost Yancy, arguing that he can still feel the moment that Yancy died, in his head. One day, as he welds support beams on the wall, he's visited by Pentecost. Pentecost needs Raleigh back in the Jaeger program. There are few pilots who could have done what he did: pilot a Jaeger single-handedly after Yancy died. Raleigh is only convinced to come with the promise of dying in a Jaeger, and not on the wall. Pentecost flies Raleigh to Hong Kong where he meets Pentecost's senior aid Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). Mako has spent the last five years gathering the last of the Jaegers: First generation Russian Jaeger Cherno Alpha, the three-armed, triplet-piloted Chinese Jaeger Crimson Typhoon, the Australian Jaeger Striker Eureka, and finally the freshly resurrected and refurbished Gipsy Danger.
Raleigh's reception is cold. He's treated as damaged goods by the other Jaeger pilots, including the Australian father-and-son team Herc (Max Martini) and Chuck Hansen (Robert Kazinksy). The son is especially proud and egotistical, and looks-down on Raleigh. Pentecost puts Raleigh to work on finding a co-pilot. He assembles a list of volunteers, and tests their compatibility in the fighting arena. All are incompatible with Raleigh, save for Mako. Raleigh immediately senses chemistry with her, but Pentecost won't allow it, insisting that her inexperience and difficult past makes her a poor candidate for mind-melding. Raleigh corners Pentecost and finally manages to convince him to let Mako be his co-pilot. Pentecost meets with two scientists, Dr. Newton Geizler (Charlie Day), a self-professed Kaiju-geek, and mathematician Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman). Gottlieb has managed to accurately predict the arrival of Kaijus, and predicts that they'll soon be crossing over every few hours. His plan is to arm a nuclear bomb and drop it into the portal at the moment of its opening, with the hope that it would fall into the open portal and detonate on the other side, killing the Kaijus at the source. Newt isn't convinced by this plan, and attempts to persuade Pentecost into letting him meld minds with a Kaiju brain (similar to how pilots meld with Jaegers) and discover their plan that way. Pentecost and Gottliebb reject Newt's plan as idiotic and dangerous and decide to pursue Plan A instead. Newt, in secret, assembles a rig to allow him to mind meld with a mostly-dead Kaiju brain that he has in his personal collection. The mind-meld is somewhat successful. Newt sees the source of the Kaiju: a massive alien world, and discover's the Kaijus' plan: to colonize the planet and consume its resources. Newt tells Pentecost that he can try the experiment again, but to do so, he'll need an intact, recently living Kaiju brain. Pentecost gives Newt a business card, tells him that it belongs to black-market Kaiju parts dealer Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman). If anyone has a Kaiju brain, it's Chau. Newt makes his way into Hong Kong's crowded market district to find him.
Raleigh and Mako attempt a mind meld in Gipsy Danger. As soon as the process begins, Raleigh loses control, immediately recalling the last seconds of Yancy's life. His loss of composure sends Mako into a panic attack, causing her to relive her own worst memory: a young Mako stands abandoned in a small Japanese city. A Level 2 Kaiju storms the city and chases after her; she hides behind a dumpster and is visited by Raleigh who repeatedly reminds her that this is only a memory, and not real. In her memory, as the Kaiju is nearly upon her, a Jaeger appears seemingly out of nowhere and dispatches the Kaiju, with prejudice. Young Mako emerges from her hiding spot and sees the Jaeger pilot emerge from the cockpit; it's Pentecost, the Jaeger's sole pilot. Raleigh, in her memory, watches from afar and now understands why he cares for her. Her family died in the attack and Pentecost saved her, becoming her father figure. The two manage to escape the memory, and return to the military hangar. The experiment is deemed a failure and Pentecost grounds Raleigh. Pentecost's second in command, Choi (Clifton Collins Jr) alerts the Jaeger teams to a fresh Kaiju signature just off the Hong Kong bay. Pentecost sends out the three other Jaegers to protect the city and the wall. Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha are sent out to take on the Kaiju while Striker Eureka is ordered to tend to the wall and only engage the Kaiju if it gets too close to the city. Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha easily out-power the Level 4 Kaiju, but are unprepared as a second Level 4 Kaiju appears. The battle shifts in the Kaijus' favor and within minutes both the Russian and Chinese Jaegers are down and their pilots dead. The two Kaijus move toward the city, and Striker Eureka runs out to meet them. Unexpectedly, the second Kaiju sends-out a massive electromagnetic pulse, frying both Striker Eureka's and the home base's electronics. The Jaeger stands dead in the water, with its pilots unable to operate it. It'll take 2 hours to get the Jaeger, and the rest of the base up-and-running. Raleigh, remembering that Gipsy Danger is a nuclear craft, and immune to EMP bursts, suits up. The Hansens grab flare guns and scramble outside to fire flares at the Kaijus. The father, Herc, is injured, and as the Kaiju prepares to kill them both, Gipsy Danger arrives. The fight between the first Kaiju and Gipsy Danger is legendary. Raleigh and Mako are a great team and swiftly dispatch with the Kaiju. The pair heads after the second Kaiju.
Newt finds Chau's shop and after flashing his business card to a dozen people, meets with Hannibal face-to-face. He's reluctant to divulge WHY he needs a Kaiju brain, but ultimately admits that he needs it so he can mind-meld with it. Hannibal, upon hearing that Newt has done it before, realizes why the city is under attack. The mind-meld works from both sides, and since the Kaijus operate as a hive mind, when Newt mind-melded he became a beacon for ALL the Kaiju. They're drawn to him. Right then the second Kaiju comes stomping down the street, forcing Hannibal to kick Newt out of his store and into the street. Newt hurries into an underground shelter with hundreds of local refugees. The Kaiju, drawn to Newt's location, pounds on the shelter and manages to break-in the cieling. It shoves its tongue into the newly formed rough and searches for Newt, nearly capturing him, but is knocked off its feet by Gipsy Danger which appears, wielding a cargo ship as a sword. Gipsy Danger saves Newt, and is able to defend itself from most of the Kaiju's attacks. Without warning, the Kaiju sprouts wings and carries the damaged Gipsy Danger high into the stratosphere. With most of their systems failing, Raleigh and Mako use their only available defense system: a massive sword emerges from the Jaeger, and with it they cut the Kaiju in two. Raleigh and Mako manage to pilot the falling Jaeger to the ground without destroying it while the remains of the second Kaiju land all over Hong Kong. With the battle over, Newt returns to Hannibal's shop and tells him and his team to get the Kaiju's brain.
Raleigh and Mako's return to the hangar is celebrated, even by the egotistical Chuck Hansen, but the celebration is cut short. Two new Kaijus have appeared near the portal, a number which vexes Gottlieb as his calculations predicted that there would be three. Striker Eureka is repaired and a giant thermonuclear bomb is attached to its back. The plan is that Gipsy Danger will escort the Australian Striker to the portal, and the second Jaeger will drop the bomb into the portal. Herc, unfortunately will be unable to pilot the Striker as he's injured. Pentecost steps-up and agrees to be Chuck's co-pilot. Pentecost gives a rousing speech about saving humanity, and fully admits to both Raleigh and Mako that this mission will be his last. He was one of the first solo Jaeger pilots, and was subjected to enough radiation to give him cancer. His frequent nose-bleeds are a sign of this. He will die after this mission. The four pilots, in two Jaegers, suit-up and make their way to the portal.
Newt and Chau arrive at the remains of the flying Kaiju. While Newt sets up his equipment, Chau's people head into the creature's corpse in search of the brain. They arrive at its cerebral cavity, but find that the brain has exploded and that, inexplicably, its heart is still beating. Shockingly, a Kaiju fetus tears open and a newborn Kaiju comes scrambling out of its mother's womb. The giraffe-sized Kaiju chases after Newt, but is bogged-down by its umbilical cord. It winds-up strangling itself before it's able to get Newt. Hannibal Chau, confident that it's dead, strolls up to the newborn, and says, effectively "You wanted a fresh brain? We'll there's a fresh brain." The beast suddenly rears up and swallows Hannibal in a single gulp, before dying for a second time. With no time to lose, Newt and Gottlieb prepare to mindmeld with the newborn. Gottlieb, theorizing that two brains would have better luck than a single brain at mind-melding (per the Jaeger program) agrees to do it with Newt. They perform the procedure and look into the beast's brain. They discover a flaw with Pentecost's plan: the portal is DNA-coded, only able to be traveled-through if you have Kaiju DNA. They radio the command center and Pentecost with the news.
At the bottom of the ocean floor, Gipsy Danger and Striker Eureka stomp toward the portal. Two fresh Kaiju stand at the portal, waiting for them. Pentecost orders both teams to stop, as it's uncharacteristic of the Kaijus to sit and wait. Suddenly a third, massive Kaiju appears from the portal: a previously unseen Level 5 Kaiju. Striker Eureka, carrying the bomb, takes the brunt of the damage from the three Kaijus. Gipsy Danger manages to take down one of them, but is severely damaged in the process, left to limp along with a single leg and arm. It watches from afar as the Level 4 and Level 5 Kaijus tear away at Striker Eureka. Pentecost and Chuck realize that the only way the mission can be accomplished now is to detonate the bomb, killing the two Kaijus, and making way for Gipsy Danger to cross into the portal and destroy itself (it is a nuclear vehicle, after all). Pentecost bids goodbye to Mako while Chuck says goodbye to his father and they detonate the nuke, presumably killing the two Kaiju. Gipsy Danger shields itself from the massive nuclear tidal wave and drags the remains of one of the fallen Kaiju to the portal. Just then the Level 5 Kaiju appears, having survived the blast. It attacks them, and they wrap themselves around it, unleashing a fury of suicidal attacks which kill the Kaiju and most of their systems. Gipsy Danger falls into the portal and appears on the Kaiju-side. Mako's oxygen levels are extremely low. Raleigh diverts his oxygen tanks to her suit and loads her into an escape pod. He launches her back into the portal, and towards earth, while he prepares the nuclear explosion sequence. With the remote trigger damaged during the fight, Raleigh most manually override the nuclear sequence by hand. As he does so, the Gipsy Danger floats to a stop at the center of the Kaiju homeworld. The timer counts down from ten, and Raleigh jumps into an escape pod. The Gipsy Danger explodes in a dazzling sphere of light, taking the Kaiju homeworld with it. Raleigh's escape pod passes through the portal seconds before it collapses in on itself, destroying the inter-dimensional tunnel.
Mako's escape pod surfaces in the ocean, but Raleigh's pod appears nowhere on HQ's charts. His pod suddenly bobs to the surface with a non-responsive Raleigh inside. Mako swims over to his pod, and manages to wake him up. Helicopters fly over head as the two pilots share an intimate moment together.
In a mid-credit scene, Hannibal Chau cuts himself out of the baby Kaiju, having survived being eaten by the newborn.
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