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Film Review: Rampage

by Ferry Bhatia
(Amritsar, India)

Name of Movie - Rampage
Language - English
Released in - 2018
Reviewed by - Ferry Bhatia

This movie is based on a popular arcade game from the ’80s, Rampage - Is about three giant creatures wreaking havoc on human cities. Davis (Dwayne Johnson) is a primatologist and handler of one of the creatures, George the gorilla. While the creatures rescind everything in their path, Davis teams up with Dr Chadwell (Naomie Harris) and Agent Russel (Jeffery Dean Morgan) to stop them.

Rampage, as the name would suggest, is a movie about giant creatures tearing up the civilized world. As you’d expect from this genre faithful, there’s an abundance of loud and gory violence, as a giant albino gorilla, a Godzilla-like crocodile and a mammoth wolf run rampant in the human world. Their only foil, is a hulk-sized Dwayne Johnson playing a hybrid of characters he’s played before in movies like Journey 2 The Mysterious Island, San Andreas, Jumanji and Welcome To The Jungle / The Rundown. Like most creature features, Rampage is a film with a simple premise. The giant mutated creatures will break and smash everything in sight, while the muscular hero and his band of eclectic individuals will try to save the day.

The original smash ‘em up game was about breaking and climbing buildings. The movie scales up those seemingly simple actions with a sci-fi upgrade. Here, a science experiment on advance genetics, being conducted aboard a space station, goes horribly wrong, in a Ridley Scott’s Alien sort of way. The mutagen crash lands on Earth and it turns an average wolf, crocodile and an exotic looking gorilla into giant scary monsters. The company behind the experiments is headed by the greedy sister-brother duo Claire (Malin Akerman) and Brett Wyden (Jake Lacy) who only cares about making profits from the biological armageddon at hand. In the ensuing mayhem of the creatures running around Chicago, the US army joins Davis and his friends to both record and stop the doom.

The action in Rampage has been captured to great effect. The sight of blowing up cars and breaking skyscrapers doesn’t look dizzying as it did in films like The Avengers or Man of Steel. While this is no superhero film, the crash and burn action sequences certainly give the effect of one. Dwayne Johnson squares off against these monsters like he’s a superhero. Thankfully there are no OTT sequences featuring him killing the creatures. But his onscreen charisma is big enough to keep you hooked on to the film. The biggest flaw of Rampage though is its predictability. Every set piece in this movie has been done-to-death in movies like King Kong, Godzilla and Johnson’s own San Andreas. Jeffery Dean Morgan as the cowboy super agent though is a big put off. Same goes for Naomie Harris who plays the clever scientist like a damsel in distress.

Despite the pastiche form, director Brad Peyton still manages to make this mindless-action fiesta a fun ride. His film isn’t the smartest movie ever made, but it does serve up some cool fan boys moments. The camaraderie between the gorilla and Dwayne Johnson is cool brings in an element of humour to this otherwise generic end-of-the-world movie. This one’s definitely worth a one-time watch.

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