Rampage (2018)

  • Time: 108 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
  • Director: Brad Peyton
  • Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman

Storyline:

Primatologist Davis Okoye shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry transforms this gentle ape into a raging monster. As these newly created monsters tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.

One comment

  • Rampage is much like San Andreas, Dwayne Johnson’s last collaboration with director Brad Peyton. It’s dumb and preposterous, but the kind of dumb and preposterous that just wants to give audiences straightforward, mindless entertainment. Like most of Johnson’s star vehicles, it’s more enjoyable than it has any right to be and it’s mostly due to his mega-watt charisma.

    Before Johnson and his bulging biceps start doing what they do best, Rampage quickly sets the table with a prologue set in a space station that has been terrorised by a mutant rat. The last surviving and soon to be killed crew member (Marley Shelton) reluctantly retrieves three canisters containing the pathogen that caused the lab rat’s crazy growth spurt. When her escape pod explodes upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmospheres, the canisters are strewn across the United States, specifically the Florida Everglades where one is discovered by a crocodile, a forest in Wyoming where a wolf is exposed to it, and an animal sanctuary in San Diego where a rare albino gorilla named George is affected.

    George, beautifully rendered by Jason Liles’ motion-performance work, is the best friend of Johnson’s primatologist Davis Okoye, who prefers hanging out with animals instead of people because he always knows where he stands with animals. One of Rampage’s strongest assets is this central rapport which combines comedic banter (George and Davis communicate in sign language) and a wholly believable emotional connection. When Davis comes upon the noticeably bigger George, his first instinct is to protect his scared and confused friend but, when George’s sweet nature is replaced by an aggression proportionate to his increased size, Davis is determined to protect him from all the various governmental bodies that are hunting him down.

    Of course, it helps that Davis was a former U.S. military soldier and member of an anti-poaching unit since he has to deploy his special set of skills to deal with the mayhem that ensues and the baddies who want to serve their own agendas. Those baddies would be brother and sister Brett (Jake Lacy) and Claire (Malin Akerman) Wyden, directors of the corporation that’s been running experiments on bio-engineering animals in order to weaponise their DNA. Lacy and Akerman do so well in their portrayals of the squabbling siblings – he a man-child, she with ice running through her veins – that their inevitable comeuppances are even more satisfying (Akerman’s is especially fantastic).

    The film’s climax finds the three supersized creatures rampaging through Chicago, smashing everything in sight and doing battle not only with each other but with Davis who, along with scientist Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) and renegade agent Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, having a good ole time), are doing everything they can to get the antidote to George before it’s too late. The whole finale is both utterly ridiculous and absolutely thrilling, with one especially memorable moment involving Davis and Kate in a copter and all three critters on top of a building as it is about to come crashing down. Rampage may not be a great film, it may not even be a great monster film, but it sure is a whole lot of fun.

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