Remember the day when you saw a trailer and it seemed that Will Smith was starring in it. Action, Drama, Comedy, you name it he was in it. Then, you blink and all of a sudden every movie is starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. To quote a friend of mine, “Every time you go see a movie starring The Rock, there’s a preview for another movie starring The Rock.”
I gotta say, that is exactly what happened to me over the past weekend when I went to go see the latest video game to film adaptation, Rampage, in theatres. While watching the trailers to this film, I witnessed another film starring The Rock called Skyscraper. I have mixed feelings about that one but it has Neve Campbell on the big screen again so take my money. We are not talking about Skyscraper, we are talking about Rampage, the latest action adventure popcorn movie loosely based on the video game about oversized animals demolishing a city in its path while trying to destroy each other. To bring it to the big screen, you need to have some humans involved to develop a story and The Rock stars as primatologist Davis, whose best friend is a rare albino gorilla named George who is infected with a toxin that causes him and two other animals into giant aggressive killing machines. With the help of a Geneticist Kate (Naomie Harris) they hope to find a cure and stop these animals from wreaking havoc.
I don’t have big memories of the video game but whether you played the game or not, this movie will not pull at your nostalgia strings nor excite you in a way that will have you jumping for joy. Rampage, provides just enough dialogue to keep you occupied between each action sequences without making an impact on its human characters and just has you clinging to your chair for them to hurry and just get to the monsters smashing things again. In addition to being an action/adventure, this movie also attempts to amp up the comedy with mediocre jokes that may warrant a chuckle but just comes off a bit cheesy in the end.
Its only saving grace is The Rock actually. What is it that makes him so watchable on screen? No matter the circumstances he just sucks you in. Whether you enjoy his acting or not, the man has charisma on film. Comedy so far is his strongest genre in my opinion. He did a great job in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, his other film with wildlife. His character in this film doesn’t like humans because they are unpredictable so he just enjoys hanging out alone or with the animals he takes care of. In the first few scenes you actually meet who I thought was going to be his right hand man and a couple of new recruits on his team to help him in his journey through the film. The team unfortunately are subjected to being a guy whose only purpose was to make The Rock look more beautiful with a bit of voice of reason and as far as the new recruits, one was a scaredy-cat and the other was a horny daddy chaser. You didn’t come for the comedy, you came for the action.
The action in this film was actually entertaining to watch. The evolution of the 3 animals which started out as a Gorilla, a wolf, and an alligator respectively. Each with their own specific strengths and for two of them, mixed DNA with other animals. Something you will catch onto very quickly. This movie is PG-13 and with a film like this that is a little lighthearted, there was a lot of death in this film. Cars are being trampled over, people are getting eaten and thrown left and right. The battle for the top of the food chain is on. I liked the action. I thought the effects served the animals well and the scenic locations of trampled buildings were believable.
A little bit of a head’s up, the action wasn’t non-stop. The film did try to give you this buddy comedy vibe between Davis and George the gorilla, as they used sign language to communicate with each other and George just had a heart of gold. Always playing jokes on each other, having an actual friendship. Depending on your sense of humor, most of the laughs will come from Albino gorilla, if that is a hint at all to the script of this flick. Davis desperately wants to save his friend before he is gunned down as just another wild animal. You also have the side story of the company, who actually man-made the toxin that caused all the trouble and the brother and sister duo Brett and Claire Wyden, played by Jake Lacy and Malin Akerman respectively, who are trying to cover it up. Naming their bio weapon project Rampage actually brings the movie full circle to be considered an authentic video game to film adaptation.
There is not much else to say about the film except that it’s a typical popcorn movie for you to watch things blow up and CGI monsters smash things and to look into the smoldering grin of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Those who loved the video game as a youngster will get a sense of memorabilia but at the end of the day, it’s an unsuccessful attempt and furthermore continuing the stereotype that video games make horrible adapted films. I hate this reputation because I love video games and there should be more of these being made. I don’t know if it’s the writing for these adaptations or if it’s the wrong games being chosen but it can happen. With that being said, not a great script but this movie is probably best seen on the big screen as there is plenty of action to be viewed.
2 ½ out of 5
Thank you for reading my review of Rampage. Comment your thoughts of the film below and remember to subscribe for more reviews in the future. My podcast based on this blog will be debuting its first episode next Wednesday April 25th. A movie podcast where I will be reviewing movies, like I do here on this blog and sometimes with close friends who are also movie geeks to help me out. Who doesn’t love a good debate and discussion over movies? Keep an eye out for that and remember, every movie has at least one fan. See you at the movies.