Movie Review: Rampage
This movie is so dumb it makes me want to go on a rampage.
This should be a winning formula: giant monsters wreck a city. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Even for a movie based on a video game, this is not good. It makes previous work by The Rock in other middling, more pedestrian fare (San Andreas, for example, which director Brad Peyton also helmed) look downright brilliant by comparison. It’s unfortunate, because the diverse cast members, including Malin Ackerman as a villainous billionaire and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as an irascible government agent, are utterly wasted and given nothing substantive to do.
Our hero Davis Okoye (Johnson) is a primatologist who also just happens to be ex-special forces — because there’s plenty of those, right? When his best friend George, an albino gorilla he has raised since childhood when George’s family were slaughtered by poachers, is exposed to an unknown chemical agent, he starts growing and becoming incredibly aggressive. In walks Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) who developed the “Rampage” formula for evil billionaire brother and sister Claire and Brett Wyden (Ackerman and Jake Lacy) to explain the plot to both us, the audience, and everyone else, as George starts destroying things.
Oh, and there’s also a wolf and some sort of alligator/snapping turtle/dinosaur creature that got exposed, too. But essentially, there’s no reason to care about any of this. Anyway, the evil scientist siblings turn on a device on top of the Chicago skyscraper to bring the creatures to them (like ya do) to force a final urban showdown.
Again, given this film’s arcade beat-em-up mayhem and destruction, it might have been acceptable, if any of the action scenes were in the slightest bit fun. Most of the film, you’re kept waiting, hoping that maybe there’s the tiniest possibility a spectacular ending which makes the previous 90 minutes of tedium barely worthwhile, a la Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
But it just never gets any better, and in the meantime is peppered with “jokes” and dialogue that 11 year old boys might think is funny or cool. As much fun as Ackerman, Morgan, and Johnson are having with these roles, it’s just boring to watch.
The test with all movies based on video games is, simply, “Would I rather have spent my time playing the game?” As repetitive as playing 100 minutes on a Rampage arcade cabinet might be, it would surely be preferable to this film.
At least there you get some fun and satisfaction out of mayhem and destruction.
1.5 out of 5 stars