Review: Dwayne Johnson's RAMPAGE might be the dumbest film of 2018

April 13, 2018

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Those who've been on the long trek desperately searching for the best film based on a popular video game, need to keep looking - because "Rampage" isn't it.

 

"Tomb Raider" tried last month, "Prince of Persia" before that and "Doom" (which, coincidentally also starred The Rock) all failed to capitalize on their potential and "Rampage," continues to make the case for why video games should stay on the small screen.

 

The film is loosely based on the popular arcade game from eons ago, which spurred more creativity and engaging levels for the price of a quarter; this film is asking you to pay $8 for a ticket. Hard to believe that a film, which opens with an intense space station showdown with poor Mary Shelton vs a mutated rat, could be so boring.

 

Back on Earth, Johnson plays a Primatologist that spends more time with people than animals. He also looks like he just stepped out of his last movie "Jumanji." Once we establish that his posy of agonizing dull side characters aren't that crucial for the plot, (the blonde chick only exists to make an innuendo about climbing The Rock) - the narrative takes focus.

 

In the film, Johnson's best friend is a furry primate named George. The two share a bond, as George was rescued as a baby and raised by Johnson. The only sole instance where "Rampage" tries to invoke any soul is when the pair communicate via sign language (the gorilla even knows how to give the finger and imitate sexual intercourse - ho ho.) Its sad, because director Brad Peyton only briefly touched on the bromance these two share, and doesn't waste time before the silly nonsense starts to kick in. I needed more Johnson and monkey bonding damn it.

 

I think there needs to be a written rule that, in any science fiction movie ever, it's just always a bad idea to mess with the genetic makeup of other species. I guess these people never watched "Jurassic Park”. 

 

I digress. 

 

So you remember that space station sequence I mentioned at the start? Good, because it's those remnants that, by the power of Jesus, land in some near vicinity of a wolf, a crocodile, and George. I kept thinking ‘man how convenient.' Inside the compartment a toxin is released, thus rewriting Darwin's theory of evolution and catapulting these creatures for Godzilla like dominance.

 

The next day, George is much bigger: Insert mindless character that says "is it just me, or is he bigger?" We find out, that a shady corporation (not that far removed from the "Umbrella" corporation in "Resident Evil) named Enerygyne has been dabbling in genetic mutation by taking DNA of other creatures and mixing them together. So that gigantic wolf is now like a cross between a porcupine, bat, and a lizard. Yeesh.

 

It doesn't help the two siblings who run Energyne are about as one dimensional and conniving as a teddy bear (played by Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy). Let me be the first to tell you, their poorly written and if they had mustaches, my god they'd be twirling them. Still, I must thank them for the laughs: how else could anyone say "There's a reason we were doing these experiments in space!" with a straight face.

 

Back to George, who is now as tall as a skyscraper (from that tube which fell from the sky) and the government doesn't know what to do other than shoot....shoot.....and then shoot some more. Hardly ever do they stop to listen. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, looking like he just walked over from the set of "The Walking Dead," plays a rootin'-tootin' old timer named Harvey Russell, who seems to relish in his own ego. On one hand, at least he knows the smuck he's signed up for; and the other, his cowboy schtick did nothing for me. Then you'll see Naomie Harris cashing an easy paycheck, playing a disgraced scientist that probably doesn't believe anything she's saying.

 

Once we've reached the end, if your brain hasn't turned to complete fudge, you'll be wondering what sort of substance "Rampage" is to provide. I understand that it's supposed to be silly, campy, and seemingly unapologetic. But the action never stops long enough for you to care about anything: this movie is like vapor. Even the best-worst movies have something for an audience to cling too, I think "Rampage" takes them for granted.

 

Yes, the special effects done by WETA digital is breathtaking and the motion capture performance done for George is special, but it lacks the weight in comparison of "War for The Planet of the Apes." Johnson also regularly drops headache-inducing one-liners at the wrong times, which, I'm sure his audience will love.

 

So who exactly is "Rampage" for? That's a big question. I guess if you like gigantic monsters fighting each other for no reason; then something tells me you'll be entertained. For my money, "Rampage" is probably the dullest movie of 2018 so far.

 

Grade: D

 

Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief language, and crude gestures

Runtime: 1 hr. and 49 minutes.

 

 

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