Review: Rampage

Asking Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to carry a movie is one thing, asking him to carry a movie based on a video game (that had no narrative) may be a task too big for him to shoulder.

Rampage is very loosely based on a video game that involves monsters destroying buildings. And yes, that’s the entire premise of the game. However, the movie does its best to expound on that.

Primatologist Davis Okoye (The Rock) works with an albino silverback gorilla named George. After George is infected by a mysterious canister that crashed in his preserve, he starts to grow exponentially and becomes more aggressive. With the help of Dr. Kate Campbell (Naomie Harris), Davis learns this genetic mutation is the work of [Insert Evil Corporation X from any movie}. Not only do they have to contend with George, a grey wolf and crocodile have also been infected. Davis and Kate race to Chicago to save George before the military kills him.

Wow, this entire movie is crazy. It opens with a scene that could’ve been a deleted scene from 2017’s Life – an experiment on a space station has gone wrong and someone is trying to escape. Somehow these small canisters containing a dangerous gas survive a fall from space….ok. This was the first sign that the science wasn’t going to make any sense.

You know what else doesn’t make sense, Jeffrey Dean Morgan. He’s playing a mysterious government agent, but he’s really playing his character Negan from The Walking Dead. Trade in the leather jacket and spike bat for a suit and a shinny pistol and that’s your guy. He talks like him, has the same poster, same nonsensical sayings. It’s  laughable how much of that character is transported into this film. If you closed your eyes, you’d wonder when The Walking Dead integrated monsters into their zombie apocalypse.

When you boil all of the craziness down, Rampage is a creature feature with CGI monsters that are more developed than its human characters. The Rock tries his best, but he has zero chemistry with the cast around him, except for George.

The writing is so hilariously bad that it leads to dozens of unintentionally funny moments. A character gets shot and is up running/saving the day 2 minutes later. One monster eats a character with no real explanation as to why. Everything Jeffrey Dean Morgan says makes me think my 12 year old nephew gave notes on the script.  When they try to explain the science behind the monsters coming to Chicago, it’s done via a walk-and-talk that makes absolutely no sense. They could’ve read science terms from a text book and it would’ve made more sense than whatever was in the script.

For how terrible this film is, it somehow manages to be entertaining. There’s just enough monster madness and laughable dialogue to save this from being 100% trash. The Rock’s charisma carries the film a lot longer than it should.

Rampage is another poor attempt at adapting a video game.  The Rock and some great CGI creatures stop this from being one of the worst films in a very long time. Despite the well deserved criticism, there is an audience for this movie. There are people who will go see this and laugh and have the time of their life. There are other who will see this and think it’s everything wrong with Hollywood. Truthfully, Rampage is a little of both.

Grade: C=