Tag Line: Big Meets Bigger.
Release Date: 2018.
Director: Brad Peyton.
Producers: Richard Brener, Michael Disco, Toby Emmerich and Jeffrey Fierson.
Written By: Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal and Adam Sztykiel
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Jake Lacy.
Running Time: 1 hour and 47 minutes.
The relationship between video games and movies has been a troubled one full of promise but almost always ending in a nasty break-up. For every Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Resident Evil or Mortal Kombat there are a dozen Super Mario Bros., Hitmans and Assassin’s Creeds. It is why every feature film based on a video game is usually met with extreme skepticism by the general public and even more so by gamers themselves. Rampage though exceeds all expectations.
Whether it be King Kong, Godzilla, Rodan, Gamera or Gorgo, I admit it. I am a sucker for giant monster movies and the bigger, badder and more bloodthirsty, the better. Tag team those monsters with Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock, and you are combining three of my favourite things: pro wrestling, video games and horror movies with Rampage.
For those who remember, Rampage was a fairly simple arcade, video game. You picked one of three monsters: George (a King Kong understudy), Ralph (an enormous wolf) or Lizzie (a lizard, dinosaur) and you reduced cities to rubble while law enforcement officials and the military tried to bring you down. This very simple concept is the foundation for a very fun movie.
Rampage builds around the premise adding a fair bit of Mighty Joe Young to the mix. Johnson is a former Special Forces solider, Davis Okoye. Now an ape whisperer (primatologist), Okoye would rather pass the time with animals rather than people. Okoye’s BFF is an albino gorilla named George who has a very sarcastic sense of humour, flipping Okoye off in a friendly way and mocking him whenever he gets the chance.
A crazy experiment in outer space conducted by the evil Energyne corporation is scattered to the stars raining three research canisters down on Earth. George, a wolf in Wyoming (Ralph) and a crocodile in Florida (Lizzie) are all misted by a pathogen.
Before you can say Fee-fi-fo-fum!, the trio transform into hulking brutes and are drawn to Chicago by a radio frequency broadcast by Energyne baddies Claire and Brett Wyden. The sinister siblings are like Boris and Natasha. They are cartoonish and ridiculous. They are so exceedingly hare-brained they drag the movie down. It wouldn’t have taken much to write out these goofball characters and Rampage would have been far better if they were erased from existance.
Naomie Harris stars as Dr. Kate Caldwell, a renegade Energyne scientist and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan from The Walking Dead) is Harvey Russell, a government agent, who lend Okoye a helping hand as he tracks down George and attempts to reel him back in.
As Okoye, Johnson is as magnetic as always bringing a lot of unexpected humanity and emotion to a preposterous popcorn movie about giant monsters tearing each other and a city apart. His interactions with George, especially at the start of the film, echoes Jill Young’s endearing bond with Joe in Mighty Joe Young and is just as authentic and poignant.
During the last 40 minutes of the film the colossal beasts go all Them! on Chicago gobbling people, demolishing buildings and heaving cable cars through the air with the greatest of ease. This all leads up to a kick-ass tag team, no holds barred, no disqualification bout between George and Okoye versus Ralph and Lizzie.
Rampage does what any solid video game film should do. Take the premise, expand upon it in a meaningful way then port the excitement from the littler screen to the bigger screen. Like the game, Rampage the movie won’t expand your knowledge about wildlife, biology, cell proliferation or the engineering behind seismically safe buildings but if you just want some wanton destruction and a giant monster battle, Rampage has all that and more.”
A giant critter is barbecued.
A human being is cremated.
A grizzly bear is mauled.
A pack of wolves is destroyed.
Seven soldiers eviscerated.
All manner of citizens and soldiers are munched, mashed and mutilated.
One officer drowns.
Giant animals die.
Harvey Russell: Like my grandpappy always said, us assholes gotta stick together.
Davis Okoye: Of course the wolf can fly.
Davis Okoye: You mess with my friend, you mess with me, motherfucker.
Davis Okoye: [to Lizzie] Come and get me, you ugly son of a bitch!
Pints of Blood