If we have to have big stupid corny summer sci-fi action films, I'd prefer that they were all like this. Clichés piled on clichés but all played unironically to the rafters by characters which were knowingly archetypal (which obviously results in some mediocre performances, but that's par for the course). Stringer Bell gives good Bill Pullman speech. The main guy and the angry Aussie kid looked too much alike. I really like Rinko Kikuchi, she was great in Babel and came out of this with dignity intact. Charlie and that other scientist were fine at the bickering nerd thing. Ron Perlman's always a fun addition. All in all, the cast was held their own and was appropriate for the throwback genre tribute it was.
And anyway, the real star was the setting, the world Del Toro had created, and the creature design. Which is pretty much amazing. If I was 12 this would have been the best film I'd ever seen. Can't ask for much more than that. The fight scenes were well judged, didn't drag on interminably, and were fantastically staged. All in all it's a damn shame this one came so late to the robot-smashy genre and advertised so poorly, which I figure accounts for why I watched it alongside about 15 people. It deserves better.