Here’s what you need to know about Rampage. It was an arcade game from way back and with very little plot, which was to be expected in those days, you weren’t playing a video game for the plot, you were playing it to kill time. But as a result, I actually think that some of these video games might make decent movies considering that their lack of plot means that they get a chance for the creative staff to do what they want to do. Rampage, though, really doesn’t have as much of a cult following per say as some other games. This was not as popular as say Space Invaders or Pac Man and oh, god, just thinking about the possibility of those getting films, Jesus Christ!!!
But, surely, with New Line Cinema acquiring the rights to the game, they put it in the hands of a decent director, enter Bred Peyton, who is a name that you are probably not familiar with, but you might be familiar with his films. He has produced a lot of ok films, but his directing jobs included the terrible Captain Dog sequel, but rather recently, he directed the Journey sequel, called The Mysterious Island and he once again is teaming up with Dwayne Johnson for this film, who he also teamed up with for San Andreas, yes he directed that piece of sh.. too and he will be teaming up with the actor again for announced the San Andreas sequel, which until researching this film, I genuinely didn’t know was coming out and I cannot wait to tear that film a new one. However, let it not be said that I am not a fair man and I did go into this film planning to judge it properly. So, how did Bray Peyton do at transferring this arcade classic to the silver screen.
Rampage is about a series of experiments that fall from space. They cause genetic engineering for DNA causing animals to grow and gain incredible rage, apparently for military reasons, it doesn’t make much sense to me. It affects a wolf called Ralph, a crocodile called croc, most notably an albino ape named George, who is looked after upon by his handler Davis Okoye, played by Dwayne Johnson. However, after he start growing and exhibiting rage inducing habits, he is contacted by Dr Kate Caldwell, played by Naomie Harris, who helps him out after telling him that a bio-medical engineering company run by Claire and Brett Wyden, played by Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy. However, the animals are breaking loose and are all heading for Chicago where the company hopes to take the research data, (because at this point it makes total sense). Davis wants to calm down George so he can keep his friend safe and Kate wants to get revenge on the company. Oh and there is also an American Government Agent around, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Rampage has a very thin plot, even with it having to pay tribute to the video game. Though, the only reference is a rampage arcade video machine in one of the offices, which is such a meta-reference that it’s hardly ever done. The last time I saw it was in the terrible Double Dragon movie and believe me, that is not a film you should be borrowing from! Speaking of which, this film borrows from an endless number of sources, it’s pretty much every modern Blockbuster, in fact it actually looks like it is shot in the same universe as San Andreas. The two films have remarkably similar cinematography. My sense of déjà vu was not helped by the fact that I saw the Rock in a helicopter again! He claims he is an amateur, but outside of that, he might as well be playing the exact same character. Believe me, San Andreas is not the only film, this film borrows quite heavily from the Michael Bey Ninja Turtles Film of all things and especially borrows a lot from Jurrassic World, including one early scene with the wolf, that was so reminiscent of the famous scene of the special operatives trying to get the Edominous Rex from Jurrassic World. I would be very surprised if Steven Speilberg doesn’t sue for plagerism! Yes, that bad!
The film clearly doesn’t have any actual ideas of its own and it is trying to pull from an endless number of resources and it seems to be aware that it is a PG13 film, so as a result it can’t go all out like an R rated film could, but it also wants to push the boundaries at times. One example is the swearing, it is so inconsistent, there are several scenes where they go all out with it and some scenes where it is cut off in advance. It’s almost as if they wanted to be exactly precise with on what they could get away with in a PG13 film.
What’s more, there is very little actual character development in this film. George is the only one who gets much of a focus, with Ralph having not as much screen time and Croc isn’t even on screen until the climax. In fact the other film this borrows quite heavily from is the recent Godzilla re-boot and even then it is a much better example of how you do a Godzilla film than the actual Godzilla film, that is saying a lot!
Rampage is seriously devoid of much meaningful content considering the way it is shot. The film runs for one hour fifteen minutes but it feels as if it could run for an hour and a half, with how dull it all feels. This is every single action Blockbuster that is coming out in recent memory and there is not real thing to separate it. In fact I even found some of its imagery in poor quite taste, particularly with the 9/11 comment occasions in it which haven’t been this bad since Man of Steel.
George is not nearly done as well as other examples of motion capture apes. This is certainly no Andy Circus in the Planet of the Apes movies or even the motion capture that was used for Kong Skull Island, which I still stand by is a better film than people make it out to be.
But the worst part about this film is the villains. I can’t believe that they are going with the simple greed and make money for the military, which by the way is full of military stereotypes that I am so sick of in these films, can we do one film where we don’t depict the military as a bunch of jackasses that want to blow everything up. But these villains are just some of the stupidest idiots I have actually seen. There plan makes no sense. These things are out of control. Even if you do manage to get some of the samples off them after the military takes them out, what good is it! It’s utterly meaningless unless you sell it on the black market, which they made no intention of doing. Without going into too much spoiler detail, though with this film there is not much reason, since the trailer is basically the entire film, they are going to lure them to the top of their building using a sound frequency. One how the hell does no one else notice that they are doing that and two, what good is that if the military doesn’t take them out, which they are struggling to do already and three, why will not one draw two and two together, that the massive rampaging animals are drawn to your exact same building all at the same time! They try to make out they are going to blame Naomie Harris’s character, but unless the FBI in this world are as dense as a freeking Chihuahua, there is not chance that anyone is falling for this.
I seriously can’t believe that Malin Akerman took this role on, what the hell happened. You are an alright actress, you did alright as Silk Spectre in Watchmen. Oh, and before you feel too sorry for Jake Lacy, he is also in the upcoming Johnny English film, so don’t feel too bad for him. I will say that Dwayne Johnson is a good actor, but he is just one of those actors that you struggle to separate him from the character. It’s the exact same problems you can have with actors like Leonardo D’Caprio and Tom Cruise and Jim Carey has also kind of got that going on, you just see the actor. In this case it actually kind of works since he is basically an action star so he suits the role well. Naomie Harris is doing fine, but whoever told her to do an American accent really needs to re-think their ideas, because she is not good as an American. What’s more, it’s very inconsistent, her accent fails quite a few times because you notice her British inflections. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is alright as the Government agent, although he is not really given much to actually do.
There is one thing I will say about the film and that is that it’s special effects are ok and the fight scenes are ok. They are at least not all shot right close so you have no idea what is going on, but they all suffer from repetitiveness given the limited ability of giving them things they can be given to do. What’s more, it’s actually alright in 3D. I would say if you are going to see the film, the 3D presentation is quite good, especially considering a lot of scenes are shown from quite a height, which 3D enhances, though be warned, some of these action scenes are full of such screwing with Physics that you won’t be able to spend your disbelief. Yes, I am spending my disbelief that these giant animals are roaming around Chicago, but what they do with a helicopter is not possible, you would be dead!
Rampage is a film that is too stupid for its own good. It’s not even one of those Blockbusters that you can sit back and enjoy. It’s really bad! There are parts that I found funny and some good action scenes, but that is really all I can say for it. The villains are what ultimately fails this film, since they feel like they fit in more with the 80’s and the 90’s than they do with the 2010’s. I think this is one that should be saved as a rental at best and will play better in that crowd, though if you want to get the best out of the special effects, you are better of seeing it in cinema’s since I think many of them won’t translate to Television very well. This is also a long film that feels very short and it ultimately feels like not much is accomplished by the end. Don’t be stupid like me and stick around for the credits, there is no post-credit scene.
Well, that’s it for Rampage. Now, in two weeks time I will be reviewing Avengers Infinity Way, but as usual, I would like to have it work with a DC animated film, so as a result, next week, I will be checking out the latest DC animated film to come out, Suicide Squad Hell To Pay.
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