Rampage (2018) Review

Loosely based on the Midway video game series of the same name, Rampage follows a primatologist named Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), who teams up with former genetic engineer Dr Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) to save the infected George the albino gorilla after exposed to a mysterious experiment. Things get worse when two wild animals are also infected and turned them into the giant, mutated beasts.

Rampage, which reunites Dwayne Johnson and director Brad Peyton for the third time, is basically a monster-movie version of San Andreas. Like the 2015 disaster movie, this one does promise plenty of large-scale destruction setpieces. Instead of California, we get to see George the albino gorilla and two other mutated animal beasts — Ralph the grey wolf and Lizzie the crocodile — tore the Chicago cityscape apart. The scenes where the beasts destroy the helicopters, as well as fighter jets and other properties, are fun to watch for. It also helps that the special effects are convincing enough. And for that alone, watching Rampage in IMAX 2D cinema does provide a sense of cinematic grandeur meant to be watched on the biggest screen possible.

Dwayne Johnson brings the same likeable charm that most of us are familiar by now. While George the albino gorilla could have been easily the scene-stealer here, the 45-year-old hulking actor remains the star of the show. Naomie Harris and Jeffrey Dean Morgan provide decent supports as Dr Kate Caldwell and the cowboy-like Agent Harvey Russell respectively. Malin Akerman, in the meantime, fulfils the generic and irresponsible antagonist role as Claire Wyden.

As for the plot, here is what I’ve got to say: If you have seen the likes of Godzilla and King Kong, you have basically seen them all. Rampage is nothing more than a familiar, popcorn-friendly blockbuster that requires you to put your brain at the front door and just enjoy the show. The story is unsurprisingly paper-thin and you can expect plenty of silly one-liners, even though some of them try too hard to be funny.

You see, this isn’t the first time Dwayne Johnson involved in a video game movie. Remember that ill-fated Doom in 2005? He vowed to make the “cursed” genre right with Rampage by adding “winking charm and humour”. Make no mistake, there are certain charm and humour in this movie. It’s just that Rampage qualifies more as a throwaway entertainment. Does it break the dreaded “video-game movie curse”? Not really.

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