Rampage: Capital Punishment Reviews
Having gone into seeing Rampage: Capital Punishment without seeing its predecessor there is no certainty of what I can expect from the film. But as the intro loosely covered the plot dynamics of the film's predecessor, I gather that it isn't essential to recognize the plot of the first Rampage to understand the narrative of the second. I can't precisely gather why Bill Williamson is bent on killing everyone from the start, but I later found out his motives towards the end though the cause of his psychosis remained enigmatic. I can certify that Rampage: Capital Punishment is far from the greatest film, but by the standards of Uwe Boll as a filmmaker it is a truly brilliant piece of cinema.
Even when Uwe Boll standards are not considered, Rampage: Capital Punishment is still a solid film. The support of a low budget prevents Rampage: Capital Punishment from turning into an overblown film while the fact that the source material is all Uwe Boll's own prevents him from insulting the fans of video game franchises he has repeatedly failed to adapt material out of. The production values in Rampage: Capital Punishment are far better than in any of the bigger budget Uwe Boll films I've ever seen, surprisingly enough. For one thing, the cinematography in the film makes a valid use of shakycam. Unlike the Hollywood productions that Uwe Boll has admitted to despising, Rampage: Capital Punishment actually uses the technique in a valid manner. It is never excessive, never seeming pretentious or amateur. In actual fact, it effectively adds a sense of realism into Rampage: Capital Punishment. Comprehending everything that happens remains easy amid all this, as well as in some of the quick edits which effectively add fast tension without making the experience cluttered.
The stylish potential for the film comes heavily from how it depicts its titular rampage and how it uses technical tricks to build tension. With little money to spend, Uwe Boll manages to stretch it into its maximum potential. There are quite a few moments where the script comes off as being thinly written, but there is no denying that it is some of Uwe Boll's most passionate work because he very clearly has something to say in this production. There is actually a lot of social commentary in Rampage: Capital Punishment. Although the loose nature of the script prevents it from being deeply insightful and it may be the same kind of information a lot of people have heard before, the fact that audiences are reminded of it amid a film which offers little premise outside of a mass shooting effectively gives meaning to the feature. Perhaps it is the fact that the material remains consistently focused enough not to go off on a tangent and perhaps it's the limited budget that prevents the film from turning into a spectacle of disillusioned filmmaking, but either way Rampage: Capital Punishment is definitely one of the films from Uwe Boll's finest hour.
Some of Rampage: Capital Punishment's elements even serve as valid commentary for mass shootings in America. Though the perpetrators of mass shootings are frequently apprehended, there is always a new one around the corner as society's treatment of criminals and general gun laws never work enough to prevent mass shootings from becoming part of the monthly routine in America. And the fact that Bill Williamson is back to unleash rampage once again works to comment on how American laws fail to achieve effective results. This could simply be unexpected subtext as a result of Uwe Boll's desire simply to make a sequel to Rampage, but the result just adds meaning.
There are some key scenes in Rampage: Capital Punishment when Bill Williamson holds people hostage and rants to them about subjects such as the media or yoga. At these points in the story, Rampage: Capital Punishment actually seems to provide a portal into the mind of Uwe Boll. Anyone familiar with the extensive internet rants he has gone on where he has referred to filmmakers such as Eli Roth or Michael Bay as "f*cking retards" will know that Uwe Boll is aggressively anti-establishment. When considering this notion and the fact that the script directly makes references to those who have made use of the Fifth Estate, it seems as if Uwe Boll considers himself the Julian Assange or Edward Snowden of filmmakers. Anyone who has seen the majority of his films will consider this a pretentious delusion, but the way that Bill Williamson uses violence to make people listen to him contrasts the way that Uwe Boll uses this film to do the same. Rampage: Capital Punishment hurts nobody but will only reach a limited market while a man like Bill Williamson who actually uses guns will get significantly further. If there is anything to take away from Rampage: Capital Punishment, it's a realization that violence is the only sure-fire way to get recognition in the world. It's not a message that the movie encourages, but its a clear cut fact that the film recognizes.
And on top of it all, the film has a solid lead portraying the psychopath. Brendan Fletcher captures the feeling of an angry young American lost in the pretentious idea that by executing a mass shooting he is actually doing something right. He is deluded into thinking that he is a hero, and behind his weapons he offers very limited intimidation. In that sense, he actively captures the ideal persona for a mass-murderer along the lines of killers such as Elliot Rodger, the perpetrator of the 2014 Isla Vista killings. The fact that such an event happened only months prior to the release of Rampage: Capital Punishment actually serves to boost the relevance of the film and Brenan Fletcher's performance. His effort is timely, capturing the perfect level of insanity and faux masculinity to create a sensible level of balance.
So though Rampage: Capital Punishment boasts a simplistic premise with a familiar message, Uwe Boll's consistently straightforward direction manages to achieve an intense thriller with valid social commentary and a solid performance from Brendan Fletcher.
I suspect they were surprised at maybe the success of the first movie. Though they did leave room for a sequel, maybe it was a surprise to actually make one. Whereas the first Rampage had a lot of improvised dialogue, I think this one has a lot more script.
The odd thing, I believe with Bill's message. He hijacks a tv station and is given air time for his rant so we hear it. It's not an un-true rant. I haven't verified all of what he says, but I actually have heard some of those exact stats so I'm pretty sure it was legit. But how does mass killing do anything to change it? I hated him in the first movie and really wanted to see some coppers take him down.
There is less killing in this movie and more talking...a nice change but also a little spooky. Bill's character/the writers make it just good enough to maybe affect some of the nuts capable of doing something similar to this. As for me, I just watched because I liked the first movie and wanted to see him go down. And while I can agree with many of the things he says in his speech, it just makes no sense to start killing people. All the more reason to hate him and people like him who go on real shooting sprees.
Years after his murderous spree in a small town, Bill (Brendan Fletcher) is back with another "important" message to deliver to the masses. He storms a TV news station, rounds u a number of hostages after murdered an equal number, and appoints egotistical anchor Chip (Lochlyn Munro) as his go-between with the police. He insists his message must be heard. You can guess already whether it's worth the fuss.
Rampage 2: Capital Punishment is an exercise in testing your patience with its aimless nihilism. It's a formless diatribe against all the world's evils. Topics include the NSA and spying, the war in Iraq, Bush's status as a war criminal, oil companies, drone strikes, Edward Snowden, Obamacare, the media, reality TV, global warming, Wall Street, and just about every other political target you can think of from an angry reactionary with a healthy sense of outrage. It's not that these topics are beyond scrutinizing or that Bill might have some legitimate points as he's skipping around from subject to subject, but he's too scatterbrained, inarticulate, and just a poor mouthpiece for the revolution he wants to inspire. Bill is no different than your garden-variety college freshman that thinks they have suddenly come across amazing psychic insights into the rotten core of humanity after one political science class. I do find Bill's moral championing of stricter gun control laws to be somewhat comically disingenuous. This is the problem with Bill as a character and his ongoing rampages. He's all sputtering outrage without a filter and direction, without honing his fury. It's easy to tune this guy out because he sounds no more particularly articulate than any other person who legitimately uses the word "manifesto" in daily life. Chances are if anyone in your life refers to something they wrote, un-ironically, as a "manifesto," get a new friend pronto.
Here's an example of the overall aimlessness of Bill's indignation. One of his hostages is quivering in yoga pants. He asks if she does yoga and she nods her head. He demands she perform some yoga poses at gunpoint. "Yoga is not good for the world. It is gymnastics for the egocentric," he argues. Then he shoots her. He shoots this woman just because she does yoga. Huh? It's not like this character was going to have any semblance of a moral high ground considering he's coming off a spree killing with over 100 victims in his wake, but it makes any political points he may attempt null and void. Want one more example of just how incoherently rambling Bill's diatribes are? Amongst his targets is the 2012 film Lincoln and Steven Spielberg himself (really!). He declares that, "You think the Civil War happened to free the slaves and billionaire Spielberg makes you dumber. The reality is every war is about money, and the stupid people must die because the elite decided it." I cannot believe this guy has the number of online devotee he has because he's not charismatic, he's not articulate, and he's definitely not insightful. I got bored listening to him. Sadly, that's what a good majority of the film ends up being: listening to this guy endlessly complain. It's like the guy who yells on the street corner just got a bigger stage but his act is the same.
One of my major criticisms with Boll's first Rampage was that it was too limited and without providing any relevant commentary to go with its violence. The sequel doesn't make much progress. Every victim that Ben shoots has to be given a tighter slow-mo shot so we can better soak up the squib hit of his or her chest exploding with blood. At least Ben's violence is channeled to a single source rather than unleashing it against the denizens of an entire town, but his message is a messy shotgun blast of social ills. It's angry and nihilistic but without anything to add. If there is a cogent message it flies completely under the radar and gets lost in all the rambling rhetoric and macho posturing.
Let's talk about the bait and switch nature of the movie's title as well as the DVD cover advertising. When you see a masked gunman standing next to a burning Capital building and the title proclaims "Capital Punishment," I think 99 out of 100 people would correctly assume the majority of the action takes place in D.C. and would be directed at elected officials. Oh how wrong those 99 people would be (the 100th was just dumb luck, so don't get too smug). The entire plot revolves around Bill holding a TV station hostage. That's it. No government building, no government officials, nothing even remotely related to Washington D.C., especially when the local gas stations are for "Canada Petrol." Before viewing, I assumed that Rampage 2 was going to be a combination of the first film and Boll's nearly good Assault on Wall Street, bringing a populist fury to the lawmakers in Washington. It seems like the next step on Boll's populist journey. Instead, most of the film is a series of ugly vignettes of Bill terrorizing the frightened station employees by gunpoint, demanding his interview and an airing of his nihilistic rhetoric. Even at a little over 85 minutes, the film feels laboriously padded out and stretched thin. At one point, Chip accidentally breaks the DVD Bill demanded be broadcast. The movie literally spends almost eight minutes on this subject, like it's a great uptick in suspense. "I'm sure he's got another one," a SWAT officer says. "He will not shoot you, trust me," he says, unhelpfully. Lo and behold, he does have an additional DVD copy. "Always have a duplicate," he says. Wasn't that worth spending valuable time on?
Fletcher (Freddy vs. Jason) returns to the completely underwritten role of Bill, more uncontrollable mouthpiece than anything resembling a person. He's effectively peeved but he still doesn't come across as that threatening a screen presence, which is saying something considered he's carrying high-powered assault weapons. Munro (Scary Movie) feels like he just got the call minutes before filming. He seems like he's constantly judging what he should be doing in every scene; perhaps that's a beneficial sign of his performance since his man is playing it on the fly in a hostage situation. His long speech to the camera as a news anchor is tiresome, circuitous philosophical vomit, which also summarizes most of the dialogue. The one amusing aspect from casting is that Boll himself plays Chip's advantageous and morally unscrupulous news director. He's thrilled with the ratings and attention the station is getting. You decide if this is some sort of meta commentary on Boll and his penchant for rolling with the punches.
I fear Boll thinks that there is a level of audience attachment to his spree killer that simply doesn't exist. He's not an anti-hero, he's not a revolutionary, he's not even an engaging character by any generous metric and that's because he's just a stand-in for tedious ideology. He's a mouth and a trigger finger, and that's all Bill is, in no compelling manner. I worry that Boll will continue to insert Bill into new settings, have him round up some innocent people, and then we'll watch him sputter for an hour about whatever cultural and political misdeeds are currently bugging Boll. I worry that the promise of "Capital Punishment" inherent in the title will really just lead to a third Rampage film with this promise actually, finally, followed through. Generally, I just worry that the world will have to suffer more abuse from further appearances by Bill, the world's most irritating psychopath who loves to hear himself talk. The scariest part is that some people will actually think this is good. You might want to reconsider your friendship with these people too, especially if they also use the word "manifesto."
Nate's Grade: D
Well the main character plays his roll perfect while "chip" is the main secondary who is key in helping the killer do what he "needs" to get done. the first was good but this one keeps it going and takes it away, it's been awhile but I think this one is better. This action packed movie is very crazy and out there but it's a movie.
It keeps you Wondering what will happen next and what this crazy kid is gonna do and how he is gonna do it. Of course with lots of ammo and dodging getting caught after hiding out for a year with no one finding him and no family being able to get in contact.
I don't wanna spoil the movie but there a lot in this one and it's quiet action packed!
Of course ton of shooting, dying & he really talks about government of the U.S. & the some about the U.N. And how the rich run things (pretty much true) but the end is really good I'm done talking watch it! Rate it! love it!