What's really surprising about Rampage is the fact that it does not feel like a Uwe Boll film at all. Internationally recognized as the worst filmmaker of modern day, Uwe Boll has drawn particular criticism for his many cheap-looking video game adaptations, even when he has large portions of money to spend. In the case of Rampage, he is helming original material and clearly has limited funds to spend. As a result, he cannot create an overblown film or bring big-name celebrities on board. This means he relies on a significantly more simply route of filmmaking which manages to prove his actual area of expertise.
Echoing the work of Joel Schumacher's Falling Down (1993), Rampage is a film with consistent commentary on contemporary America which progressively leads towards a violent climax. The story essentially comes from the question, "What would happen if I got up one day and decided to shoot everyone in my path?". Having dealt with many of my own frustrations in the world I have admittedly asked myself this, and rather than going out to a college to shoot it up like an American teenager Uwe Boll uses the medium of a film as a safe exercise in mass murder. Bill Williamson has to encounter the real problems of everyday life, ranging from poor customer service at a Coffee House and a Fast Food restaurant to an overly frustrating boss who fails to appreciate his contributions to the service. These plot points are not cliche, these are genuine issues which people find frustration with every day but everyone has to deal with. Rampage provides viewers the opportunity to see the problems resolved in the most gleefully violent manner possible. Frankly, it is the kind of film which would provide stress relief for anyone having a bad day simple because this style of plot point constitutes the entire narrative before leading to an extensively violent climax. These two elements combine together to allow underlying social commentary on the functioning flaws of society to break away from the violence where Bill Williamson promotes a changing time and takes it into his own hands. It's hardly deep and its a familiar plot point, but he's an engaging character who keeps things moving along. The script itself is very generic and carries little in the way of surprises, but the dialogue feels natural enough not to attack viewers with artificiality even though there is a tendency for the more talkative sequences of the film to drag on with loose periods of arbitrary dialogue.
Admittedly, Rampage is no Citizen Kane (1941). It has a thin story and it doesn't make much of an attempt to be the deepest and most engaging film because it is a simplistic feature, and as the title promises, the majority of its focus rests on how it depicts its rampage. And though you would never be able to tell it from literally any other Uwe Boll film, the man actually knows how to capture a sense of style.
Visually, Rampage is a fairly solid exercise in style. There are some problems when the cinematography can get a bit too shaky for its own good, but in comparison to many of the contemporary Hollywood films that the director loathes, Uwe Boll exercises the technique with significantly greater restraint and sensibility. Most of the time it does what it is supposed to: it captures a feeling of realism, whether it be for the casual moments of conversation or more intensively for the violent scenes of the film. In the case of the latter there are plenty of entertaining deaths in Rampage due to Uwe Boll's passion for violence and his determination to capture it with visual gusto and a fair level of blood and gore. It is never excessive, but there is plenty of it to keep the exhilarating thrills moving along. The sound effects help to keep the climax of this scene rich, and the musical score is also intense. Uwe Boll manages to craft a very stylish collection of violence for Rampage while containing the premise to a mere 85 minutes as not to drag on. The man knows his limits this time around but he also knows his potential, and by the end of Rampage I'm certain that very many viewers will too.
And impressively enough, Rampage does not go without a strong lead actor.
Brendan Fletcher's leading performance is an impressive one. Managing to actually find a character in a Uwe Boll film, the unknown Brendan Fletcher makes a name for himself. As the story starts he is a rather generic representation of America's troubled youth, but when the film reaches its titular rampage he unleashes the full extent of his power. Strutting the town in his suit of armour with a fearless grip on his weaponry, Brendan Fletcher manages to lay a truly intimidating impact on Rampage. He grasps the character with a passion for sadistic black humour and genuine aggression which captures a strong extent of insanity, delivering rich ferocity to the part and keeping it active every second the material demands it. When he removes his mask midway through his slaughter and reminds us of his true identity and as a mere young boy, it serves as a reminder of the countless young people in the world who have lost their way and been driven to violence, particularly the teenagers shooting up American college campuses. Brendan Fletcher's leading performance offers a powerful showcase for his intense dramatic skills in what is effectively the greatest performance given by any actor in a Uwe Boll film.
Rampage has a thin plot overall, but due to its subtle yet valid social commentary, strong leading performance from Brendan Fletcher and a tenacious passion for violence captured with style, Uwe Boll proves capable of actually making a solid feature.
What does bother me is how much I hate the character doing the killing. He's a piece of shit. I can't say a whole lot without spoiling it, but I guess since there's a sequel, maybe you can guess.
Story line is chillingly realistic in that there are kids in America that would think this is a good idea and would be capable of doing most of what he did.
There are some excellent one liners, great revenge scenes and a clever overall plot. Just heard the sequel is out, must watch it soon.