Rampage – 2.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Rampage – 2.5/5 – There is one thing that is a constant motto, video game movies are always bad.  No matter how many adaptations have happen (Tomb Raider, Assassins Creed, Warcraft), they can never get over that hump of being mediocre at best.  Rampage is another adaptation that tries to slay that mighty curse.  Even with charisma from The Rock and some crazy destructions, Rampage fails to achieve that dream.  In the catalog of video game adaptation, Rampage is another caution in the wind.

Premise:  Three animals are change into Raging monsters, and one man most stop them from total annihilation

In the lead role of Davis Okoye is Dwayne Johnson (The Rock).  Johnson is the only reason this film is watchable.  From his stark personality to his on-screen charisma, he commands the screen and delivers a performance that makes you wonder why take on this generic storyline.  In Davis, you get a person that is layered with conviction and morals.  He is a man of conventional wisdom, but also has a heart for the animals he takes care at the Zoo.  His relationship with one gorilla (George), creates a dynamic that is endearing and heartfelt.  In this relationship, you get see a struggle within where he has to decide on doing what is right or saving a friend.  For the rest of the cast, please refer to the film’s IMDb page.  The secondary cast are what you would expected from this genre.  They are your typical, wooden archetypes that speak one-liners or have expositional moments to move the plot along.  There is no real personality, depth or endearing purpose, they all just become fodder to the story, Davis or raging creatures.

The direction takes the outline of the basic, run-of-the-mill action film and infuses it with a high concept of the video game property, Rampage.  With a video game being based around destroying things, you get a film that centers around a main character (Davis Okoye) that must stop his raging Gorilla (George) and two other creatures from destroying Chicago.  What the story boils down to is a series of moments, talking points and over-the-top action sequences that are plastered together with a generic script.  The first act is a basic introduction to the main players (David, George and a host of action archetype characters).  Once everyone is introduced through quick/cheesy one-liners and forced expositional speaking notes, it leads into a typical Dues Ex Machina plot device.  From this, it pushes the story into a jumble mess of evil corporations, secret government agency and a ‘race against time’ to save the world.  Everything moves along a linear thread that is void of any story/character development.  The only thread worth following is Davis’s relationship with George.  The second act follows a ‘journey’ like method, where the main character gets caught up in the destruction.  What you have is:

Main character talks to character B > exposition/prelude to action > predictable mishap/rampaging animal ensues > main character saves character B > rinse and repeat scenario.

This causes any ‘semblance’ of development to be overshadowed by the purposeful intent to throw chaos on the screen.  The one thing that stays strong is the relationship between George and Davis.  It is the common friendship theme, but that personal relationship keeps the action and melodramatic tropes loosely together.  Once in the third act, all Hell breaks loose.  You have mind-numbing action scenes, wooden villain interactions and predictable government/military interference.  Through all this chaos (as before) it is Davis’s relationship with George that keeps you entertained.  Once in the climax, it is a one-on-one confrontation that brings everything ‘somewhat’ together in a fitting conclusion.

The cinematography is nothing to be amazed or let down over.  Everything from the San Diego Zoo, Rocky Mountain terrain and Chicago city landscape is typical for these kinds of films.  The score is mute at best.

Rampage is nothing more than your generic video game adaptation.  Outside of Dwayne Johnson and some crazy action scenes, nothing else is good.  If you’re a fan of The Rock or want to see if this breaks that ‘video game’ curse, I say check it out.  For everyone else, this is nothing more than a rental.

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