Directed By: Brad Peyton
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Ackerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jake Lacey, Marley Shelton, Joe Manganiello, P.J. Byrne, Jack Quaid, Will Yun Lee, et. al.
After an orbital research station suffers a malfunction and begins to crash to Earth, the specimens onboard are jettisoned and land in different areas across the US, infecting local wildlife with a virus that causes them to rapidly grow and mutate, all while giving them a nearly uncontrollable violent streak. When one of the specimens lands in a zoo, infecting a normally gentle albino gorilla, the zoo’s Primatologist, Davis Okoye, joined by disgraced geneticist Dr. Kate Caldwell, sets out to find a cure for the pathogen from its source at Energyne Labs in Chicago before the mutated animals can tear the city apart.
Turning video games into movies is notoriously hit and miss. The biggest hurdle they face is finding a good reason for the plot of the movie to be taking place, which can be difficult depending on the game. Unfortunately for Rampage, a little research tells us that the mutated creatures are the “heroes” of the game, and the destruction of various cities is the main goal. Despite all that, Rampage does maintain a sense of fun. Dwayne Johnson is Hollywood’s leading go-to action/comedy man, and for good reason. It’s easy to tell that he doesn’t take himself too seriously, which usually translates into his characters looking as though they’re having fun. Most of the other actors also seem to be having fun with the movie, which is one of the reasons it’s not a total bust.
The special effects are all relatively well done. The giant monsters don’t look too cartoony, but they don’t look terribly realistic, either. The destruction of downtown Chicago, including a skyscraper, looks like it could have been using miniatures and set pieces, though there were a few sequences done with CGI. There are also a couple of death scenes but they’re either blink and you’ll miss it, or played off for laughs.
Anyone looking for fun, semi-mindless popcorn flick should find this enjoyable. As stated before, the actors all seem to be enjoying themselves, though Malin Ackerman and Jeffrey Dean Morgan lean towards scenery-chewing every now and then. If nothing else, it’s worth the price of a rental, and shouldn’t wear too thin on repeat viewings.
Rampage isn’t available free to stream anywhere at the moment, but it can be rented from Redbox or Netflix home delivery service, or purchased from a participating store or on-line retailer.
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