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Rampage isn't as fun as its source material, but the movie's sheer button-mashing abandon might satisfy audiences in the mood for a brainless blockbuster.
Rampage isn't as fun as its source material, but the movie's sheer button-mashing abandon might satisfy audiences in the mood for a brainless blockbuster.
All Critics (240)
| Top Critics (38)
| Fresh (124)
| Rotten (116)
| DVD (2)
It's not a good film; it's actually a supremely silly one. But with Dwayne Johnson once again flexing his pecs in the cause of popcorn distraction, it's not entirely bereft of amusements, either.
It may be based on a video game, but it plays like a live-action cartoon, one that doubles as a fantastical journey into the imagination and sensibility of a 10-year-old boy, complete with rude hand gestures and goofy declarations of badassery.
Dwayne Johnson takes on jumbo, aggressive, mutated creatures in an epic cheesefest featuring a silverback gorilla named George who flips the bird at The Rock. Wrong target, George. It's the movie that deserves the finger.
It's telling that two of Rampage's big set pieces end with a gigantic albino gorilla laughing and giving the finger straight into the camera.
When Johnson is doing that movie action star thing he does so well and giant animals are going enormous-mano-a-enormous-mano, there's undeniably goofy fun to be had. You just have to be patient during the downtime.
Rampage doesn't have much to offer: The plot is cursory, the dialogue is repetitive and the psychology is cheap.
Sometimes it's OK to sit back and enjoy The Rock being reliable.
Rampage is the bad kind of brainless entertainment. Movie gods, please don't let there be a sequel brewing.
It should have been a dumb delight; instead it is a bit of a dumb drag.
Seems way more fun on paper than it actually turns out to be. The Rock: Yes. The giant animals: Okay. Most everything else: Very much no, thank you.
Meant to sensationalize and capitalize on the giant monster film resurgence, Rampage instead plays out with the imaginative thud of a skyscraper brick crashing on a cement sidewalk.
I never thought I would be entertained by giant apes fighting giant wolves fighting giant crocodiles, even with The Rock involved. And I was right.
The Rock teams up with a King Kong wannabe to battle monsters in Rampage. When a genetic experiment goes wrong a gorilla, a wolf, and an alligator have their DNA radically transformed, turning them into giant, hyper-aggressive monsters that leave a wake of destruction wherever they go. Dwayne Johnson does his usual thing and brings a fun, charismatic energy to the film. However, the script is garbage and doesn't make a bit of sense (which is typical of video game movies). Yet the special effects are amazing, making for some exciting fight scenes and incredible disaster porn. A big, dumb action film, Rampage is entertaining and lives up to its name.
[i]'alright George, we gotta stop these things before they destroy the city'[/i]
He says after the John Hancock Center is brought crashing down. I think they've kinda done that already mate.
Another month another Dwayne Johnson movie (much like certain other franchises). The only man in cinema today who gets shot clean in the gut halfway through his movie yet doesn't actually die...or anything. He just keeps on going in invincible mode. Nothing much changes does it, its all about big arm muscles and tight shirts for Dwayne. His acting doesn't really alter much, in fact is he even acting or merely being himself? But you can sure as hell tell this is a 2018 movie. A crap load of poor CGI with a crap load of obvious greenscreen. Johnson has a black female sidekick whilst the main villain is female and she has a goofy white male sidekick, oh and a stealth bomber pilot is also female.
So another month another giant monster movie (facepalm). This time an evil female led company is basically trying to create a pathogen to be used as a biological weapon, because of course they are. Said pathogen obviously is let loose upon the US when the companies space station housing the stuff gets destroyed by a mutant rat. The stuff infects a gorilla, a crocodile, and a wolf. Said animals naturally mutate into giant monsters and start wreaking havoc. But all this doesn't stop the evil female led company though, oh no, they still have their dastardly plans which I can't be bothered to explain anymore.
So for anyone not in the know, this movie is based on a very old Bally Midway arcade game released in 1986. The designers clearly borrowed heavily from certain classic monster movies for their lead characters with the Godzilla-esque Lizzie, King Kong-esque George, and a werewolf-esque looking Ralph. The game merely involved you trying to destroy as much of a cityscape as possible whilst eating people, crushing tanks, and swatting choppers. And with that Warner Bros have thrown together what they think is a good movie?
OK so firstly this isn't a kids movie, which was surprising to me, yet Johnson still doesn't say motherfucker (he's no Schwarzenegger). But yeah this movie is relatively violent with people being eaten, stepped on and crushed, thrown through the air and off tall buildings, and some claret on hand. But whilst it was satisfying to see some adult action, in no way did it make up for the rest of it.
This is a bad movie. The special effects are generally poor with only George looking halfway decent. Ralph looks like a cartoon and Lizzie looks like a dinosaur from a Doug McClure movie. I don't understand why the giant animals actually go around killing and destroying in the first place. Sure the pathogen makes them aggressive but that doesn't mean they would just roam around randomly causing carnage. Again when the female villain turns on this beacon to attract the creatures, why do they decimate the city on their way? (because we wouldn't have a movie otherwise). Why does Ralph have the ability to shoot darts out of his body now? And that only crops up once I think, you'd think it would be shooting these things all the time. Oh and Ralph can fly too, like did the folks behind this movie ever play the fecking game??
The acting throughout is God awful, absolutely terrible. Dwayne Johnson is merely himself as usual. This guy cannot act, he's just himself in every movie (and most of his movies are the same). His costar sidekick (Naomie Harris) is also terribly plain and shows little actual talent (although her wig somehow manages to stay put throughout the action). But the worst performance has to be Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a government agent who fancies himself as a badass cowboy. We know this because he tells us in almost every scene and he sports a single pearl handled pistol on his hip in some vague effort to be 'kewl'. Can someone please explain why this guy stands at an angle in every fecking scene. Literally every scene where he delivers dialog he's standing at an angle as if one of his legs is shorter than the other or they are filming his scenes with a Dutch tilt.
Seeing as this movie is based on an arcade game where your goal is to Hulk smash everything into the ground, you can imagine how this movie ends. When I say end I mean virtually from the halfway mark. Yep that's right, one long incomprehensible mess of CGI 'action' as we follow all three of the giant monsters on their rampage, ahem. Somehow the giant crocodile is able to climb sheer buildings, for some reason not one human being cottons onto the fact that bullets can't hurt these creatures; George decides to eat the female villain (coincidentally when she has the serum for the pathogen) whole, yet we don't him do this to anyone else. He could of eaten the helicopter pilot likewise but just throws him away. Lizzie decides to bite Ralph's head off for some reason, the greenscreen gets unforgivably bad, oh and we're meant to believe that people named these monsters Ralph and Lizzie?? I know its based on the arcade game but you really didn't have to go that far.
Dwayne Johnson is apparently the big action star of our current time, or for the current younger generation, so I've been led to believe. I'm left wondering how this can be because aside from his physique the guy is a poor action star. Sure he's fun in silly fantasy comedies and some over the top soft-core action flicks for youngsters, but that's it. He is seemingly unable to break his self-referential nice guy comedy routine and is apparently unable to stop fixating on his own muscles. This is yet again another Dwayne Johnson movie where the main character is (the invincible) Dwayne Johnson.
Am I being too harsh on a mere videogame adaptation? Maybe, I knew not to expect that much from a movie which is very loosely based on a very loose concept. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there will get a kick outta this and that's fine. But for me this is now the umpteenth movie showcasing the exact same spiel. I can't lie about it, this was complete and utter garbage, and not even good looking garbage at that.
Movies like Rampage hit the big screen many times each year, but they never stand out from the rest, because they're meant to appeal to the lowest of demographics. Kids between the ages of 10 and 16 fall in love with movies like this and then ask themselves why about 10 years later. That being said, Rampage has a little extra flair this time around, due to the star power in Dwayne Johnson. He has become the man to open movies as of late and honestly one of the few remaining big movie stars. Audiences seem to love everything he does, even if they love him for the fact that you're not supposed to take him very seriously. Rampage is exactly the movie that you expect it to be when watching the trailers, but here's why you may get a little more out of it in terms of entertainment.
Based on the popular arcade game that was made famous decades ago, Rampage follows the military, animal trainers, and scientists as they track down and prevent catastrophe after an experiment goes wrong and multiplies the size and anger of a few animals. Yes, the premise is as silly as it sounds when talking about it, so you definitely have to go in ready for a corny ride from beginning to end. With that said, when certain characters say silly lines of dialogue, everything is still taken fairly seriously, so if you can sit back and have a good time with a dumb popcorn flick, then this may be the movie for you.
Dwayne Johnson will continue to be the big star that he is for years to come because his on-screen charm doesn't seem to be going anywhere, at least anytime soon. I would recommend going to see this film for his interaction with everyone, yes, but his relationship with the main genetically-enhanced animal in George is great. This relationship is what will make or break the movie for you because the driving force of the story lies with these two characters. The final act of the movie is all about the culmination of where they started together at the beginning of the film, so if their chemistry doesn't work for you, then you may want to leave the theatre before it really dives in.
This is where I'll dive into my negatives with this film, even though there really aren't many to discuss. The main issues are that the story itself is very familiar and the jokes have been told throughout countless blockbusters throughout the past. This is just about as safe as you can possibly make a movie like this, so I walked out not really complaining but wishing it provided much more than it did. The action is fun and the effects are surprisingly detailed and realistic, but the spectacle is really all this film has to offer for its audience.
In the end, there isn't another way of saying it other than stating that this film is exactly what you are expecting it to be. Animals are mutated and destroy the city. You care about one of them and hope that Dwayne Johnson's character in Davis can work with him to stop everything from getting worse and I'll leave the rest up to your imagination. The conclusion you're probably coming up with is most likely what happens here. Yes, the charisma of Johnson is great, the secondary characters are likable enough, and I can really see this movie appealing to young teenagers, so it does receive a mild recommendation from me, but if you're looking for something innovative in terms of Hollywood blockbusters, then I would suggest looking elsewhere. If you're in for a dumb, but fun ride, then I think you'll appreciate it for what it is like I did.
Rampage is exactly as advertised, a big, dumb monster movie based upon a flimsy premise of an arcade smash-'em-up, and it's also just about everything you'd ask it to be. This movie is ridiculous, no question, but I walked away feeling like the filmmakers recognized this and embraced its ridiculousness.
Davis Okoye (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) is a primatologist at the San Diego Zoo. His prized primate, an albino gorilla named George, is undergoing very dramatic changes. A canister of secret genetic-altering gas has fallen from a scientific space station, landing in George's gorilla pen, the hills of Montana, and in the Everglades. Separately, a wolf and a crocodile are rapidly growing in size, as is George, who is also becoming more aggressive and violent. Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) is a disgraced scientist who may know how to reverse the changes. The U.S. government, lead by Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), relocates George to a government lab; however, he breaks loose midair. He and the other monstrous animals are heading to Chicago, lured by a signal intentionally staged to draw them in one very smashable location.
It's not exactly a winking, satirical statement on the monster movie genre, but I think Rampage is still self-aware. Take for instance what befalls The Rock. His character is literally shot in the gut (no exit wound) and miraculously recovers and runs through crumbling buildings, leaps over rubble, tussles with giant monsters, and even outruns them on the ground, and is thrown this way and that. This happens for the entirety of the last act while, and I don't think I can stress this enough, A BULLET IS STILL LODGED INSIDE HIS CHEST CAVITY. However, he is The Rock, our modern equivalent to a living Superman, so the movie shrugs and asks us to just go along with it, and because I was entertained, I did. There were several moments where I just shrugged and said, "Sure, let's do that," but usually these decisions were in the service of the blockbuster elements that I would want to see with this kind of premise. It's silly and stupid and baffling at times, but it knows what elements to pump up and what elements an audience won't really care about. The villain's plot is completely nonsensical and amounts to, "Step 1) lure the giant monsters to one central tower in Chicago, Step 2) ?, and Step 3) Profit." I have no idea what they were hoping to accomplish but their lamebrain thinking efficiently facilitated the monsters getting closer to peak smashing form.
You can look at three performances to get a sense of those who understand the big, dumb, fun movie they're in, and those who have misjudged what kind of movie they're in. Jeffrey Dean Morgan (TV's Walking Dead) knows exactly what kind of movie he is starring in and has the time of his life as a scenery chewing, gun slinging, folksy quipping cartoon. Every scene he slides into, the man has a gleeful glint in his eye at what he gets to do. You almost expect like a musical motif to accompany him every time on screen. It's enough that you think he might just strut off into another movie all his own. On the opposite end are the film's villains, callous, rich, and almost bumbling in their sense of evil. To their credit, Malin Akerman (TV's Billions) and Jake Lacy (TV's I'm Dying Up Here) are mostly meant to verbalize their villainy for the audience. Whenever we cut back to them, the brother and sister are helpfully explaining the lengths of their scheme. Lacy is goofy dumb and relatively useless outside of deliverer of exposition. Akerman fares worse trying to be a no-nonsense bitch of business and is far too serious. When both of these actors are onscreen, the movie powers down, sapping its fun. When Morgan appears, it's like Rampage can once again be the big, dumb, fun movie we crave.
Unexpectedly, the best relationship in the movie is that of The Rock and a giant CGI albino ape, proving once again that Johnson's charming bonafides know no limits. George the gorilla is given far more nuance than any of the other supporting characters, which isn't saying much, yet Johnson's charisma is able to lift all on screen partners. Their funny, warm-hearted relationship may actually stir some emotions in you come its heroic climax, and that by itself is astounding. Johnson's character back-story is kept to a relative minimum as not to gum up the narrative expediency. He's a reliable anchor for audience engagement that he can sell the most ridiculous, as detailed above. It's been quite an ascent for Johnson over the course of the years, and my pal Dan Nye observed that he's now been playing actual characters rather than recognizable versions of himself. Davis Okoye is more or less The Rock: Zoologist, but it's still a welcomed development. The Rock could star alongside an actual rock and glue your eyes to the screen.
The special effects are also quite good for this sort of brainless caper. George comes across as a genuine creature, not necessarily with the depths of say Andy Serkis' Caesar, but what CGI-performance does? The computer effects do an excellent job of communicating actor Jason Liles' (Death Note) mo-cap performance and make the big guy sympathetic even as he rages out. I enjoyed that, much like Alex Garland's Annihilation, the animals are not necessarily demonized for behaving like nature intended. They're creatures undergoing a change they cannot understand and acting accordingly like animals would. The crocodile is impressive for its evolutionary mutations looks impressive and textured, especially when we see its gaping mouth open.
As far as its stated mission, Rampage smashes things up but good. Director Brad Peyton showed with 2015's San Andreas that he's essentially the diet version of Roland Emmerich, and that's okay. The action is fun above all else and Peyton prefers long visible shots. If we're going to see a bunch of monsters, let's actually see them (ahem, 2014 Godzilla). I felt like Peyton was far more invested in this movie and his shot selections finding interesting arrangements, like a slow-mo shot of jaws snapping together on a passing fighter plane. Peyton understands the significance of scale, letting the sheer size of the monsters communicate the immeasurable danger. There's an early confrontation of the giant wolf in a Wyoming forest that's chaotic, suspenseful, and demonstrates that how freaking fast these creatures can be at their size. A prologue in space is genuinely thrilling and the zero gravity aerobatics provide an extra feeling of helplessness against a mutant attacker. By the end, when all three monsters descend on Chicago, Rampage becomes the popcorn movie experience that it has promised.
Nobody is going to label Rampage a smart movie but it is aware of what it is. This is a big, dumb movie that aspires to merely be an awesome big, dumb movie, and that prioritized sense of fun pervades the relatively fast-paced film. The Rock is running around with his hulking ape-bro and wrecking havoc. This is the kind of movie where a giant gorilla mimes the universal physical symbol for sexual congress. This is the kind of movie where they feed a person to that giant gorilla. This is also the kind of movie where The Rock has a bullet lodged in his gut for the entire climax. This is a movie that has no airs about it and simply wants to entertain a mass audience. The Rock is a consistently charming and very capable action lead, and the relationship he has with his giant ape-bro is surprisingly chummy and sweet. If you're looking for a monster movie that has no embarrassment about what it is, let alone being based on an arcade game, then Rampage is going to be a stupidly enjoyable time out at the movies.
Nate's Grade: B-
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