Starring Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello
Another movie where highest paid “actor” Dwayne Johnson saves the world. “Rampage” is also the second video game adaptation we’ve seen this year. Director Brad Peyton and Johnson have become a team delivering spectacle film “Journey 2” and “San Andreas” (the sequel to that one coming soon). “Rampage” feels like a cross section of different films, it opens like a sequence out of “Gravity”, briefly looks like Johnson’s 2017 winter hit “Jumanji”, lots of “Jurassic Park Lost World” and “King Kong” moments thrown in there with a splash of “San Andreas”, since we see three planes crash during the two-hour film. “Rampage” is the type of movie you swap brain for popcorn at the concession stand, because nothing on screen makes any sense or follows any sensible rule of law.
A company called Energyne has developed a pathogen called Crispr that can mutate animals into giant forms of themselves. Testing in space doesn’t go so well, but their deadly experiment falls back to earth, landing on a crocodile in Florida, a wolf in Wyoming and San Diego Zoo albino gorilla George. Davis Okoye (Johnson) is retired military and now serves as the zoo’s primatologist, his bond with George makes what’s happening to him personal. Davis and former Energyne scientist Dr. Kate Caldwell (Harris) race around the country to prevent death and destruction as the three dangerously large and deadly animals head towards Chicago where the villainous Energyne siblings Claire (Akerman) and Brett Wyden (Lacy) are summoning them.
The type of movie you swap brain for popcorn at the concession stand.
The biggest issue I have with a film like “Rampage” – why put so much effort into the suspense if the audience already knows Johnson always survives. When a character pulls a gun on any character Johnson is portraying, you know he will get out of the situation alive. If he is skyrocketing toward land, on a burning plane, there is absolutely no need to worry, we know from hordes of films he will survive, especially when the scenario occurs mid movie. It’s sequence after sequence of Johnson, or in this case Davis Okoye, surviving the most implausible. “Rampage” is pure cinematic chaos from beginning to end, hundreds of endless bystanders, passengers and military are killed, but our characters never seem to notice or care. This film only shows emotion when George gets hurt.
“Rampage” is entertaining, I will give you that. Entertaining in the same way as a high-speed chase on the morning news, both always ending the same way. Fleeting moments of interest, forgotten by the time the next one rolls around. Johnson is the Schwarzenegger or Stallone of the new action generation, maybe with more charisma. “Moonlight” supporting actress nominee Harris’ talents are completely wasted here as she steps into a new franchise while waiting on her 007 to restart. The success of “Rampage” will surely point to numerous disappointing sequels where they find more exciting animals to jumbo size, different cities to destroy and scenarios for Johnson to barely escape from.
If you’ve seen one Dwayne Johnson movie, you’ve seen them all.