Movie Review: Rampage
Dwayne Johnson’s latest action film, Rampage, officially hit theaters over the weekend and seems to have claimed the number one spot at the box office. The film was directed by San Andreas director Brad Peyton, and of course, it starred Johnson as primatologist Davis Okoye. Theoretically based on the video game from Midway Games, the film follows Okoye as his friend George, an albino gorilla, becomes an enormous, raging creature after a rogue experiment. In addition to Johnson, the film also featured Naomie Harris as Dr. Kate Caldwell, Malin Akerman as Claire Wyden, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Harvey Russell.
The film begins at a space station, where a laboratory experiment has gone incredibly wrong. One scientist seems to have escaped with the lab’s research canisters, but after burning up in reentry, the canisters are a part of the debris that scatter across the United States. While all of that is happening, the film shifts to primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson) at the San Diego Wildlife Preserve. He introduces part of the team to an albino gorilla named George and several other of the gorillas in the habitat. After Okoye leaves, George discovers one of the fallen research canisters and is sprayed with the pathogen it contains. George grows much larger and becomes overly aggressive overnight, which sets Okoye off on a journey to find out how to help his friend.
So, I have to start this review by being honest about the fact that this is a ridiculous movie. It’s literally a movie about a rogue experiment causing enormous, raging animals that start to tear apart the city of Chicago. It is a movie that demands for you to suspend all notions of reality. I will give them points for letting the big showdown take place in Chicago instead of New York since everything terrible in a movie always seems to take place in the Big Apple. However, at the end of the day, the premise is ridiculous, and there is no way around that.
On a positive note, I will admit that the visuals looked good overall, and I think that George in particular looked great the entire time. There were some humorous moments in the film, some of which were probably unintentional. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was one of the more entertaining characters that I happened to enjoy, and and as always, Dwayne Johnson is charming and entertaining in the leading role. However, not even Dwayne Johnson can redeem this story. The movie is littered with cringeworthy dialogue and predictable moments. Also, the villains in this movie were terrible. I almost expected to see them start twirling their animated mustaches whenever they appeared on screen. The motivations behind their actions were never really explained, and they always conveniently had a group of private contractors or some other needed entity to conveniently move the plot forward. It was painful to watch. Also, it was disappointing to see a talented actress like Naomie Harris not fully utilized.
At the end of the day, Rampage is an utterly ridiculous film; however, it does have its entertaining moments. There are some humorous parts, and whenever the film is not taking itself too seriously, it works. In my opinion, its basically a Transformer movie with enormous animals instead of robots and a more charismatic leading character. If you’re a big fan of The Rock or just love mindless, action movies, then I would say that the film is worth a watch. However, I would recommend waiting to watch this one until a rainy Friday night when it’s available on Redbox, which might be sooner rather than later.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.