George (the giant ape), the mutant wolf, and the mutant crocodile are all excellently rendered and mesh well with the on screen actors. The destruction captures the true essence of the arcade game (along with later sequels), never sacrificing the film’s silliness near the end for an overly serious plot. Unfortunately, the special effects aren’t at their absolute best 100% of the time, especially near the climactic end featuring a character death - which went a little too dumb, even for this movie.
Rampage is loosely based on the 1986 arcade game of the same name that saw George, a King Kong-like gigantic gorilla, climbing up an infinitely tall skyscraper, avoiding electrical units and helicopters to get as high as he possibly could. Movies based on video games generally get a bad reputation just from being associated by the title. To be quite frank, there hasn’t been many successful video game adaptations to the big screen. I can say without a doubt that Rampage, starring Dwayne Johnson, expands on the idea of the arcade game and goes much further, making Rampage the best video-game adaptation ever created. But with that being said, it does have some significant flaws.
Full of fun energy, Brad Peyton delivers the best film of his career and the best video game adaptation of our time. While being not personally impressed with Peyton’s previous directing work which includes Journey 2, San Andreas and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, this film was truly a shock as to how much fun it was. It definitely has issues that can’t be corrected by just a fun, silly nature throughout, but that focuses more on other aspects than the direction. The coordination between the CGI and the on screen characters is excellent, with near flawless speech and actions between them. Some generic directorial choices near the middle of the film focusing on the capture of George and the travel of the other creatures that were infected by the foreign object causes the film to drag in the less action oriented scenes. While the final thirty minutes really show the awesome silliness that the film should have possessed during the entire feature, the slow moving middle doesn’t really affect the overall enjoyment of this adaptation.
Dwayne Johnson’s Davis is a friend of animals, especially George, who is a last of his species Albino Ape that transforms into a king kong like monster after being exposed to a man-made pathogen. As George begins to grow to his significantly larger size, we are witnesses to the struggle he is going through to remain his calm, trained self against the rebellious animal inside. This is made clear after a failed capture takes place involving Morgan’s character, Harvey Russell, a special agent of sorts and the teaming of several other monstrous creatures who were similarly infected. As circumstances occur, Davis and Russell along with a friend made along the way must team up to prevent total devastation of Chicago. It’s a fun, silly plot that centers around two enjoyable leads and fantastic looking creatures. Although, several of the creatures’ actions are predictable and some characters could have easily been written out for time - especially when they deliver brutal lines of disposable dialogue.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Dwayne Johnson is just as charming and enjoyable as he always is, and his relationship with George is an undeniable one. Jeffrey Dean Morgan seems to be having a great time with his character, along with Johnson. They play off of each other well, while capturing the essence of what makes a movie like this so much fun. Several errors in casting make Rampage a less enjoyable film, mainly when it comes to the stereotypical corporate villains. Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy both share in the irritating characteristics that cause their acting to suffer and the fun script material to be wasted as well. A recasting would have benefited these roles tremendously. Luckily, the two corporate villains only appear occasionally, while Johnson’s sidekick played by Naomie Harris is obnoxious to say the least. Every time she appeared on screen my fist tightened, my head ached, and I was ready for someone else to step in and make her disappear. Unfortunately for the viewer, she never goes away, sticking with us the entire experience and that alone is the film’s largest fault.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Andrew Lockington created a wonderful score that truly captured all the emotions and genres the film possesses. From the action filled set pieces, to the slower more horror focused wolf sequence, Lockington has composed a great score to motivate emotions to rise to the surface. Even the Kid Cudi song, which is partially composed by the same composer, is a fun lyrical song - although I will confess that I don’t remember much about the song or where it comes into play within the length of Rampage. The sound design is just as impressive, showing off these gigantic creatures’ horrifying steps and vocals - to the level of Pacific Rim or Godzilla. From disastrous consequences of buildings falling all around and planes free falling from the sky - the sound design created the heartwrenching panic transpiring on screen.
Brad Peyton’s Rampage is a delightful action adaptation that stays true to the simplistic arcade game, while expanding beyond it in interesting fashion. Some creative choices make the film suffer dramatically, while others create a more immersive and thrilling time in this silly narrative. With wonderful CGI building this large cityscape for the final fight between beasts and man - Rampage hardly ever fails to capture visually the essence of the silliness the game possessed. Several actors dragged the production down, which is one of the only major flaws the film has, even making the film less of a desired watch for someone who enjoyed almost every other aspect the first time round.