In Theatres: 
Apr 13, 2018
Running Time: 
107 minutes

Every time we get a new video game film adaptation, which is pretty often these days, I think to myself, “This is going to be the film that breaks the long streak of bad video game movies.” I thought Assassin’s Creed would be the one to do it. It didn’t. I had hopes that Tomb Raider would be at least good. It wasn’t. The same thought crossed my mind for Rampage, and unfortunately it has the same outcome as well. Rampage is a monster of a mess.


Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) rescued an albino gorilla he named George from poachers when he was a baby and has raised him at the San Diego Zoo ever since, teaching him how to communicate through sign language. But after a rogue gene editing experiment from space crash lands in the gorilla habitat, George inexplicably grows to gigantic proportions and becomes increasingly violent. Furthermore, two other animals, a wolf and a crocodile, are infected by this strange pathogen and have begun to wreak havoc on society. Davis will do whatever it takes in order to save his friend, but both the government and the company responsible for creating the pathogen have other plans for the genetically altered animals.


The original 1986 Rampage arcade game had no real story. You played as one of the three monsters and you destroyed as many buildings as you could, moving from city to city, before the military could kill you. A monster movie starring The Rock should be an easy sell, but Rampage attempts to create this overly complex story and then forgets about most of the action. It moves from one scene to the next with little to no thought, nevermind the fact that it isn’t until the third act where the action finally starts to ramp up. The film spends so much time building this world that when it finally comes to tear things down it comes off as utterly ridiculous. I get that we’re supposed to suspend our disbelief with this film, especially since we’re dealing with gigantic animals destroying entire cities, but when Johnson rides down a falling building using a broken helicopter to gain just enough lift to survive without a scratch, that’s where I draw the line. My eyes were rolling so hard during Rampage that I could see my brain wilting away.


The majority of the film is a slow grind as it establishes Davis as this guy who prefers animals over humans. Johnson’s interactions with George are great, especially in the beginning, but they’re only a handful of scenes. I also enjoyed Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s performance as the suit-and-tie government agent who reluctantly helps Johnson because “assholes gotta stick together.” He’s basically Negan, complete with the lean, and it one of the few people who actually looks like they’re having fun in the film. All the other characters like Naomie Harris’ Dr. Kate Caldwell and Malin Akerman’s Claire Wyden are laughably forgettable. Even Johnson, who typically exudes charisma and charm in all his films, comes out with a lackluster performance overall.


Rampage continues the streak of bad video game movie adaptations with an action-less monster story and a script that looks like it was pieced together from a Mad Libs book. There are a few laughs but nowhere near enough to save the film. At one point I half-expected Johnson to become infected by the pathogen, and we’d see a 50-foot Rock fighting giant monsters in downtown Chicago. Honestly, that would have been tons more entertaining than the funless result we ended up with.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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