Ralph Breaks the Internet
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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 (239)
| Top Critics (39)
| Fresh (124)
| Rotten (115)
| DVD (1)
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.
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.
Rampage is a light and fun experience that is the epitome of escapist storytelling...
This isn't a movie that has any affection or any wonder towards its monsters.They're in here because they're in the video game on which it's based.
First thing first, it should be noted that I am a wrestling fan. Yes, I know it's 'fake', but so is Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, among others and that, somehow, doesn't prevent people from enjoying them. So why is it that wrestling fans get singled out by some for mockery for enjoying something that we all know isn't real. It's a form of entertainment like any other. Regardless of that, given the perceptions of wrestlers in movies (thanks to horrible Hulk Hogan movies), I wonder if people ever thought that The Rock was gonna fail in his excursion into Hollywood??? I mean, The Rock's charisma, in wrestling, was off the charts and, in general, it still is. You could have said the same about Hulk Hogan, but I think Hogan's charisma was more geared towards the wrestling world as opposed to Hollywood. The Rock, however, had a presence to him, that you knew that he could give a good run at it if he ever decided to do it. And that he did in 2002 with The Scorpion King. Now, having said that, the first few years of Rock's career in Hollywood were a little rough. I greatly enjoyed The Rundown and, to me, it was the best of his earlier movies. But, outside of that, you could say that he didn't find immediate success. Movies like the Tooth Fairy, The Game Plan, Area 51 (which he provided his voice for) were cringe-worthy and were not doing him any favors. But 2011 arrives and The Rock appears in the fourth Fast and Furious sequel, Fast Five. And this is the movie that pushed him into the stratosphere. At the time, I remember Vin Diesel vs The Rock being sort of a dream fight between action heroes and, as I remember it, the fight didn't disappoint. After Fast Five, I don't wanna say that he's become untouchable, but The Rock has become one of the biggest box office attractions in the world, if not the biggest. The reason I say this isn't because of the success of the massive Fast and Furious franchise has gone on to have since his first appearance or Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle's unprecedented success. The reason I say this is because he was able to take THIS movie and make it a success. This movie made $426 million worldwide on a budget of $120-140 million. This isn't much in the face of Infinity War, which ended making $2 billion worldwide. But it is a lot when you take into consideration that this movie, based on a video game, is based on a video game that isn't exactly that popular on today's gaming landscape. The 'last' real game in the franchise was released in 2006. And I say the word last in quotation marks given that there's an arcade game based on this movie that can only be played at Dave and Buster's, but I don't count that since it isn't easily available. And, again, it was released in conjunction with this movie. Regardless, this is a franchise that, even in 2006, wasn't exactly as popular as it was in its heyday. So, the fact that this movie made more than three times its budget is still impressive. And I don't wanna say that it's all due to The Rock, but his name certainly helped a lot. I feel that there might have been good word-of-mouth surrounding this movie as well. I'll tell you something, if I had been ten years old instead of 30 when I watched this movie yesterday, I would have lost my mind. A giant gorilla, giant wolf and giant crocodile (all accidentally genetically modified by this pathogen that makes them bigger, stronger, faster and, worst of all, angrier) lured to Chicago to destroy the city and, eventually, fight each other??? Fuck, where do you sign ten-year-old me up??? I can't really hate a movie where I see a giant gorilla ride an even bigger crocodile when they're fighting, I really can't. Can you? With that said, this movie obviously isn't perfect. Because, in my opinion, I feel like it takes a while for the movie to get where it needs to go. The Rock is charismatic enough and, by this point, he's a good actor to where he can carry some of the dead air in between the set piece moments. And I understand that they need to explain why this is all happening and establishing Claire and Brett Wyden (the former is the CEO of Energyne, the company responsible for what's happening) as the villains. They also need to establish George (the giant gorilla) and his friendship with Davis in order to make you care for the eventuality of George, maybe, sacrificing himself to save Davis and, by extension, the city of Chicago. But, at the same time, I think you had people sign up on the basis of seeing giant animals fight the fuck out of each other. And that's not to say that the movie didn't deliver on that front. When the wolf, the croc and George make their way to Chicago, this is when the movie really starts to click for me. And I'm not saying that the movie was bad at any point prior to that, it was perfectly decent, but wasn't like 2014's Godzilla, where it built the anticipation of his first appearance to make it mean more. No, you see the giant wolf and gorilla, for the most part, almost immediately. The big reveal was left for the crocodile, who is first noticed by the military only moments before his first appearance. I mean, I guess they were building to that reveal, but it's not exactly as satisfying as 2014 Godzilla's was. But, of course, the design of the croc itself was tremendous, because it really does look like a science experiment gone wrong. I don't even know how to describe it, but it was really fucking cool. Anyway, as far as narrative is concerned, you really shouldn't expect much. It's all about finding this antidote to give to George that'll calm down his aggression. It won't revert him back to his regular size, but he won't be as likely to tear down every building he sees. Claire Wyden wants the animals to come to her, so they can extract the DNA in order to sell it to the highest bidder, given the fact that, if used as a weapon, could help turn the tide of many wars. That's about all I got from the movie, everything else just sort of brushed past me. I mean, I paid enough attention to know the basics, but not enough to where I really thought about all of the likely plot holes this movie has. This clearly is not meant to be taken seriously. That's obviously not an excuse for lack of logic, but sometimes lack of logic can lead to fun movies. Like, for example, John Woo's Manhunt. That film had very little actual logic and I had a blast watching it. It was so ridiculous and over-the-top that I couldn't help but enjoy it. That's what I liken this movie to though, to be fair, I don't think this movie goes as over-the-top as Manhunt did with its villains. Regardless, as I've mentioned many times before, movies like Rampage (and Manhunt) need to exist. Movies where you can just sit (or lay) down and just watch and enjoy them. Not everything needs to be about deep existential crises or complex moral dilemmas. Sometimes you just wanna have fun. Again, that shouldn't be an excuse for shitty storytelling (Transformers: The Last Knight, I'm looking at you), but it's easier to forgive in movies that embrace the absurdity of its concept and provides according thrills with that absurdity. I think this movie manages to be solid popcorn entertainment in its third act. It almost didn't get there, but it did cross the finish line with it providing some ridiculously kaiju battles. The acting is good all around well, I mean, given the expectations associated with this type of movie. There's no Oscar winners here, but the cast is more than good enough. I feel like that's about it, really. It's a movie about giant monsters fighting each other and, while it took a while to get there, the movie definitely delivered on what it promised. Perhaps it could have delivered more of it than it did, but I can't complain. The third act is a lot of fun and, ultimately, makes this a good popcorn flick. It won't change the world and it's not something that you really need to go out of your way to see. But, for 67 cents (which I what I paid for this, given that I still had some money left over on my Amazon Gift Card), I definitely got value for my buck Or slightly less than.
[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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