Video game adaptations are a plague to the movie genre. They don’t seem to work and the people who plays the games feel frustrated when the movie doesn’t capture the source material to the fullest making us wonder: what was the point? Rampage is the newest of the video game movies to be released and it’s exactly what you think it is: loud, noisy, over-the-top ridiculous and once again not quite on par with its source material. But that isn’t to say that Rampage isn’t fun, it has its moments and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has the charm to be entertaining as always.
Based on the game of the same name that was released in 1986, Rampage tells the story of a company called Energene that deals with genetic coding and modification. After a test goes wrong in Space (yes that’s right) three vials containing a mixture to genetically mutate animals crash land on Earth. If you’ve seen the trailer you already know what’s going to wreak havoc: a silverback gorilla, a wolf and a crocodile. Davis Okoye (Johnson) is a primatologist who works at the San Diego Zoo and tends to George, that silverback gorilla. George knows sign language, makes jokes and seems like a friendly guy. It isn’t long before things get crazy. George increases in size, become aggressive and his strength is something similar to King Kong.
Once things start from bad and get to worse Davis meets Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) who’s a genetic engineer who helped develop the formula to make the animals into what they’ve become. We also get to meet Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman) and her ditsy brother Brett (Jake Lacy) who are the heads of the company who manufactured this so-called Operation Rampage for reasons that are never explained. We also can’t forget Harvey Russel (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who southern accents and interesting sense of humor adds well to the story.
One thing to note is that Rampage is not for kids. There is a battle sequence between the mutated wolf and some spec ops soldiers. The violence is rather brutal and could be too much for kids to handle as it tends to get graphic in ways that surprised me for a PG-13 film. The movie does have some heart to it though, especially the relationship between Davis and George. Their story is special and Davis will do anything to save his friend from the path of destruction he’s causing. It’s nice to see this and is reminiscent of King Kong and Rise of the Planet of the Apes but in the end, Rampage falls back to what the filmmakers think the audience expects and that is violence and destruction.
The last half hour of the movie shows my hometown of Chicago being ripped apart and destroyed by the monsters and the military. It got to be too much for me and I became bored quite quickly because I was invested more of the heartfelt story and was witnessing more of the juvenile action moments that felt like Transformers without Michael Bay involved.
Verdict 3 out of 5
Rampage is a lot of fun if you’re going into it with mindless entertainment on your mind, however, the movie does have heart but not enough to be memorable or a decent addition to the video game genre of movies. The humor is excellent and I laughed many times, but it’s too long and the action scenes didn’t keep me invested into what happens next. Rampage isn’t terrible but it’s a goofy time at the theater. Not as good as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle but is still better than the Michael Bay Transformers, which oddly enough feels somewhat like them.