‘Rampage’ Review

RampageRemember the days of film classics like Deep Blue Sea, Reign of Fire, Anaconda, and Godzilla? Rampage takes us right back to that sweet and simple time. A time where all the studio needed was a big action star and an even bigger monster to sell the audience a fun, absurd time at the theater. Rampage is a sci-fi monster film directed by Brad Peyton, and loosely based on the classic video game series of the same name. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Åkerman, Jake Lacy, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Joe Manganiello. The story follows a primatologist named Davis Okoye, who must team up with a genetic engineer and a mysterious government agent to save his friend George, an albino gorilla who turns into a raging creature of enormous size following exposure to an experimental pathogen. From the beginning, Brad Peyton shows that this film is intended to be fun and action-packed. Many of the characters shoot off quippy one-liners and the actors don’t take themselves too seriously. Many things in the film are designed to keep the audience’s attention such as the interesting creature designs and the many explosions. The best thing the film has going for it is the characters. Dwayne Johnson plays Davis Okoye who likes spending more time with animals than people since he feels like people aren’t very honest. He also is shown to have a mysterious military past which is why he has so many useful skills. This is the type of character that Johnson has played in many other films and it continues to work thanks to his presence and overall charisma. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is also great as Harvey Russell. Russell is a government agent who works for an undisclosed agency that deals with the misuses of science and technology. Morgan imbues Russell with the same swagger he brings to his Negan character from The Walking Dead, which works out very well. The viewers want to trust his character but aren’t sure if they should. Joe Manganiello is great as Burke, the leader of a private military group. Even though his role is small, it is very exciting. Naomie Harris does fine as Dr. Kate Caldwell, but the script doesn’t give her much to work with. Even with all the fun things about the film, there are a few negatives. Though the creature designs are interesting, we only see the wolf and crocodile take on features of other animals. The wolf is part porcupine and part bat while the crocodile is part fish and part boar. George, on the other hand, is just a large gorilla with no other animal features. Also, there are times where the pacing is off, and the main characters sit around watching the destruction unfold instead of continuing with their plan. The villains of the film played by Malin Åkerman and Jake Lacy are very one dimensional. There are so many holes in their scheme that there was never a doubt that they wouldn’t get away with it. I give Rampage a Normal 6.5/10. A better script and villain could have improved the film greatly, but it is still a fun time at the theater.

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