Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Director: Brad Peyton
Back in 1986, there was an arcade game where you played as a giant animal with the goal of destroying whole cities before the military could kill you. Rampage is perhaps the last game you would expect to get a film adaptation, and is enough to make you roll your eyes when you think of the average game adaptation film (we’re looking at you Super Mario Brothers (1993) ). And yet this film stars The Rock. And there’s something kind of magical about the way that Dwayne Johnson seems to be able to inject something into films that makes them really entertaining and fun where you would expect them to be less than average fare.
Rampage tells the story of a primate specialist Davis (Johnson) who has a special relationship with an albino gorilla called George. But when an immoral corporation accidentally releases a genetic mutating agent onto the Earth, George becomes infected with a pathogen that makes him huge, aggressive and dangerous. Davis teams up with a geneticist (Harris) and a mysterious government agent (Morgan) to try to save George, but soon he realises he has bigger problems as two more giant mutants emerge. Soon all three animals are bent on destruction and heading towards many innocent people in Chicago.
It’s essentially a batshit crazy film that aims to have as much destruction as possible. And yet, there’s something about it that’s really likable. It has a sense of humour and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s got enough plot to keep you amused and interested, and yet there’s no attempt to hide that fact that the film is pure entertainment and and doesn’t need a great deal of logic. The characters are all fairly one note, but they work, and at the heart of the film is the relationship between a man and his gorilla BFF, which is sweet and well realised.
Of course, it’s a film that you watch for the spectacle, and this film is heavy on some pretty great action and destruction sequences. The CGI animals are actually really realistic looking, as much as giant mutated monsters can be, and there’s something gleeful about watching them take things apart and destroy everything. It is what it is, and it does it well.
This film really isn’t for everyone. While it is a fun ride and often quite funny too, it’s going to be too light and too loud for a lot of viewers. And in a lot of ways, it’s kind of forgettable. But it does deliver on light entertainment and action, which sometimes is just what you want.
See It If: you like action and destruction. The Rock lifts this film from being pure mindless action to being quite entertaining, but it’s light fare.