Monday, April 23

Rampage Review


Dir: Brad Peyton

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jake Lacy, Joe Mangiello, and Malin Akerman

There was this video arcade at the local mall in my neighborhood; when mom would go to the department store she would give me a few dollars to get quarters for the video games. I would feed quarters into the machines but in particular, when “Arkanoid” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” were taken, a game called “Rampage” caught my creature feature attention. It was a simple multiplayer destruction game where you would pick a gigantic monster, a gorilla named George, a lizard named Lizzie, or a wolf named Ralph, and wreak havoc on a city. Simple and entertaining. 

Simple and entertaining is the whole mission of the new Dwayne Johnson starring action film “Rampage”. Taking primary cues from the video game from the 1980’s, the film adds the biggest action star in the world, some computer generated monsters, and a lazy narrative to piece everything together and composes a film that feels situated for that mind-numbing Sunday afternoon movie time waster.

Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) is a primatologist working with an albino silverback gorilla named George in the San Diego Zoo. Davis has a connection with George, being able to communicate via sign language with the animal. A genetic science experiment on a space station laboratory goes terrible wrong, it explodes sending debris along with genetic mutation materials throughout Earth. Soon three animals, including George, are infected and grow to enormous size all on a destructive path towards Chicago.

Director Brad Peyton does a competent job of making the visuals enticing and monsters clearly identified amongst the mayhem, it’s not as much of a confusing mess as some of these other CGI laden films. Dwayne Johnson is mostly reliable throughout the film, here the actor does his best to make the most of a bad script by letting his charming personality come through in as a many scenes as possible. 

Unfortunately the script is a complete mess. Dialogue is strained with awful one-liners and pointed statements articulated solely for the next plot device. Mr. Johnson plays a primatologist who, when the military comes in for information, reveals that he use to be a special ops soldier in the military. This is solely done for the sake of the character being able to fly a helicopter and pick up weapons for the ensuing fight. At another point the two sibling villains (Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy) need to capture their creations and conveniently reveal that they have the equipment to do this on their building, it’s a line that feels so blatantly forced that it’s awkward when spoken.

“Rampage” will be defended as simplistic entertainment, and for some of the visual moments in the film it feels exactly like that. But it’s hard to completely commit to the film because of the narrative issues. While it sounds like a great idea watching Dwayne Johnson jump around and fight monsters based from a simple video game premise from the 80’s, “Rampage” the movie ultimately feels like a waste of quarters.  

Monte’s Rating

1.50 out of 5.00

No comments:

Post a Comment