Ah, video game films, just the sheer mention of a film like this and you have a practical uprising of dedicated fans voicing outrage and injustice. With decades of tried and tested adaptations, you’d think by now someone would have got the idea that maybe they don’t work. But of course, Hollywood doesn’t know how to stop so now we get Rampage, a game with absolutely no built-in story about giant monsters destroying cities only this time they’ve thrown in the 21st centuries newest Mr. Nice Guy, Dwayne Johnson. As much as I find a The Brahma Bull (as he would put it himself) electrifying, even the highest paid actor in the world can’t scoop up the organs this film has spewed out.
Despite the sudden spike in popularity for Dwayne Johnson, I’ve somehow unintentionally avoided films he’s starred in, so I was curious to find out his acting prowess and his performance is a good fit for a cheesy action film. He’s a good figure that can you can follow the intense action sequences and a charismatic funny guy that people like him for. In a bizarre way, Rampage is quite in tune with its audience as the film is aware why people bought their tickets and give them what they paid to see, giant monsters and Dwayne Johnson kicking ass.
The focal creature George, an albino gorilla is by no means the most memorable ape that graced a cinema screen, but what will be remembered is how funny the ape can be. I found myself chuckling at George’s fondness of crude humor and his scenes with Dwayne Johnson’s character Davis the charm is there, I just wish the film could have spent more time on their friendship before rushing to the eventual carnage. Even though your paying for the carnage, it’s still nice to throw in a hint of strained friendship here and eternal conflict there. Speaking of which, the actual monster fighting monster scenes are done well for a cheesy action film. despite the ridiculousness of it all, some would even argue to the action being a high budget
The buck stops there though. Once you get to the core of this film, it feels as though a meeting was held to decide what happens in the film, and nobody objected to anything. There are characters alongside Davis who near the beginning of the film that is never heard from again once George gets infected with a pathogen. I’m not even sure that these characters had any other purpose other than to add fuel to the fire, the fire in this case being Dwayne Johnson’s ego.
The human villains in Rampage were so laughably bad, they feel like rejected henchpeople in the Austin Powers films. Malin Åkerman and Jake Lacy’s performance as the brother and sister antagonists were so overacted, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had an evil laugh, and it’s made worse by the fact that we spend quite a lot of time with these characters plotting their evil schemes, but we don’t care for their schemes because their motivation for money is so uninteresting and lazy.
Trying to apply any form of sensible logic to this film is a complete waste of time because Rampage is essentially what would happen if one of those cheap, beyond awful Sharknado films got a large budget. In fact, I would argue if Rampage was shown on the Syfy channel it may have gotten more positive reviews as one of the better films shown on that channel. But no, because it stars Dwayne Johnson you’ve got to put it on the big screen to rake in the box office.
The plan that Davis and the female companion of the film Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) must stop the monsters is the epitome of convenience. Every idea the two have it is immediately shown to be the right idea despite having minimal knowledge of what to do. For instance, hacking the big bad company’s server from the thermostat is ridiculous but the film wants us to go along with it. Even if you have a film that is not taking itself seriously and knows it’s not taking itself seriously, you still need to throw in some sort of realistic element so that the characters reasoning and actions don’t become too foreign and ridiculous. Unfortunately, this is exactly how it feels in Rampage and it spoils any fun the audience has watching it.
At least the film knows that it a bit of mindless fun, the overall problem with it though it that it’s too mindless. There is no justification for anything that is happening, and Rampage is clearly set on distracting you from this by using the star power of Dwayne Johnson. The characters are laughable, whilst the beginning and end have taste, the in-between is completely bland and the only time I had a very positive reaction is whenever the gorilla George made rude gestures (a giant monkey flipping Dwayne Johnson off is going to put a smile on anyone’s face). Rampage is about to become the highest rated film based on a video game according to Rotten Tomatoes, but is it honestly worth it?
Final Result: 4/10 – Below Average
Have you seen Rampage? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below
Next Time: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society