Rampage Movie Review
Movies that are based on video games have not had a high success rate. Not even “Tomb Raider’ (redone, again) made much of difference at the box office last month. So can a movie based on an old arcade-style game called Rampage bring to life the movie magic? Best be thinking that if there is anything good to be found in this movie, it will be in the work of Dwayne Johnson and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Those two are the bread and butter, but the rest are just garnish.
Engyne is one very evil corporation that is conducting secret genetic experiments. Even better, the serum they produced is on the space station – which simply explodes into bits. There are three containers of genetic serum that land on Earth, ready to cause havoc. One lands in the San Diego Zoo, where Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) has spent years working with the giant apes, and teaching then sign language. One of the apes is named George, so he must have come from the Jungle (George of the Jungle?). George finds the remains of the genetic container and gets sprayed with it. He becomes a huge mutant albino gorilla.
Geneticist Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) arrives to help Davis with George’s intense growth. She was the main scientist at Engyne who help develop the substance. The owners of Engyne are Claire Wyden (Malin Åkerman) and her brother Brett (Jake Lacy). They have developed the serum to sell on the black market. Kate attempted to blow the whistle, but Claire and Brett had her arrested and ruined her life. But now she wants to help Davis control how George is taking over. But George escapes.
George does not get far when he is taken by a big Government agency. This group is lead by Agent Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who takes Davis, Kate and a sedate George into custody. They are taken in a large cargo plane but when George wakes up; he does not like his flight and takes down the entire plane. Agent Russell is saved by Davis and Kate. Then he finds there are two other mutated monster sized animals, a wolf and a crocodile. These two killing creatures are en route to Chicago, same as George. George and the other two monster-sized creatures are being controlled remotely by Engyne, led there by the Claire and her idiot brother. She wants to prove how effective her serum would be to create fighting machines. So what better way to display your wares by getting them to destroy a major city!
But Davis and Kate are on the scene and come in to save the day. With some logistical help from Agent Russell, they are able to communicate with George and calm him down. But with two other mean and vicious monsters on the loose, there are still buildings to be destroyed and lives to be threatened.
Dwayne Johnson gets a chance to play his ‘Rock-ish’ self again. He is one part human and one part giant unbreakable super guy. There is nothing that he cannot do and nothing that does not bend to his will. Except for the three big monsters. He does have his hands full with that. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays a super bureaucrat who can get things done and never passes up a chance to serve up some snark. He plays this character with a great over-the-top attitude. This movie could be much better just concentrating in these two actors playing off each other. Now that would be great.
“Rampage” could be a bit hit, if you can ignore all of the bad science and all the utter destruction of a big city. When Hollywood finally gives up on the idea of a perfect video-game movie adaptation, then perhaps we could see a movie with Dwayne Johnson and a co-star Jeffrey Dean Morgan as – whatever, it would just be fun!
Until then: “It’s Game Over, Man!”
Directed by: Brad Peyton
Screenplay by: Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal, Adam Sztykiel
Story by: Ryan Engle
Based on: arcade game Rampage (by Midway Games)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Åkerman, Joe Manganiello, Jake Lacy, Marley Shelton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Length: 107 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief language, and crude gestures
Genre: Action, Based on video game