Title – Rampage (2018)
Director – Brad Peyton (San Andreas)
Cast – Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, Joe Manganiello
Plot – After a genetic experiment gets unleashed on the USA, ex-soldier turned animal saviour Davis Okoye (Johnson) must team up with scientist Dr. Kate Caldwell (Harris) to stop a collection of giant mutated animals, that includes his dear gorilla friend George, from destroying the country.
“Let’s go save the world”
Review by Eddie on 13/04/2018
When a film is based on an old 80’s arcade game, stars The Rock and centres around three oversized mutated animals creating raucous across the USA, you know what you’re getting yourself in for and in that respect Rampage offers an experience that is exactly as advertised, with one caveat, someone forgot to tell San Andreas director Bray Peyton that this type of film should never be conducted under any illusion of seriousness.
At its best when it plays to the lighter touch and cracks wise at the ridiculous nature of the situations that inhabit its screen time, Rampage can at times be a popcorn munching good time but far too often Peyton takes time out from the fun as the film finds itself trying to ratchet up the drama or create backstory for characters we care little about, while the films biggest stars (George the oversized Gorilla and his friends Mr. Wolf and Mr. Crocodile) go about largely in the background until Peyton goes for broke with some fairly impressive carnage in the films last act set in Chicago.
It’s a shame Rampage doesn’t focus more on what makes it tick as a piece of throwaway entertainment as when you throw in some terribly conveyed corporate baddies in the form of Malin Akerman’s Claire Wyden and Jake Lacey to go along with the so-so dialogue and long winded set-up, Rampage can often feel like a chore to sit through, so much so that not even the usually undeniable charms of Dwayne Johnson can overcome.
In that phase of his career where he must tread carefully so not to become a self-parody of similar role after similar role, Johnson pretty much plays himself here as kindly ex-soldier turned animal saviour Davis Okoye whose friendship with George may just hold the key to saving mankind from these genetically altered beasts and it’s a bit of a tired performance, especially with Johnson given far too many “po-faced” moments instead of more wise quips like “that’s a big arm, don’t fight it”.
Other members of the human team fair about the same with the capable Naomie Harris playing the typical female support with only Negan Dean Morgan getting the memo about what the film should be like, with his government agent Harvey Russell a breath of fresh air for the film as Morgan swaggers around the sets with his cowboy drawl and attitude, displaying a sense of fun and incredible timing (seriously, he just continually shows up at the right place and right time) that when combined with the impressive CGI monster creations, make Rampage a film with genuine moments of enjoyment.
Final Say –
Too often found trying to ground itself in a more serious tone than was needed, Rampage loses focus of what would’ve made it a truly fun blockbuster event and while it does have some fun moments and a scene where The Rock takes to a boat sized crocodile with a grenade launcher, Rampage is another disappointing video game adaptation that’s elevated by some impressive production values and some memorable monsters.
2 1/2 Ford Broncos out of 5