Dir. Brad Peyton
Reviewer. Dan Cook
As an aspiring film reviewer, I like to think that I carry a certain degree of critical intellectualism whenever I sit down to watch a movie, whether it be in the cinema or on my sofa at home. However, monster movies somehow bypass my brains' innate critical faculties and instead target my inner child, the same child who would regularly revel in the sights and sounds of men in rubber costumes knocking over unconvincing cardboard approximations of Tokyo. RAMPAGE is no different. Directed by Brad Peyton and adapted from the highly addictive, coin-guzzling arcade classic of the same name, the movie takes narrative coherency, character development and even basic common sense and promptly proceeds to throw them on a raging fire.
Instead, RAMPAGE is a two hour long exercise in pure escapist popcorn fun as three animals, having been exposed to genetically engineered gas, grow to enormous sizes and do battle amongst the towering skyscrapers of downtown Chicago. One of the creatures, an albino gorilla named George, is cared for by Dwayne Johnson's beefy primatologist and, as is to be expected, the actor brings to the role the same charisma and charm that has made him one of the most popular talents in Hollywood today. Whether he is bonding with his rather adorable CG co-star (brought to life through very impressive work by rising motion-capture actor Jason Liles) or taking out a gigantic mutated alligator with a ridiculously oversized rocket launcher, it is impossible to deny Johnson's incredible box-office appeal or resist his infectiously magnetic personality - even when he is spouting some of the worst dialogue heard in any film released in 2018. There are some other good actors thrown into the carnage here such as THE WALKING DEAD's Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Academy Award nominee Naomie Harris who, unlike the unfortunate city which the monsters lay seige to, both leave RAMPAGE relatively unscathed.
However, the unequivocal stars of the show are of course the trio of titans and Peyton spares no expense in giving his audience exactly what they came to see, giant beasties tearing apart buildings and, inevitably, each other. If you were disappointed by the lack of monster mayhem in Gareth Edward's problematic yet enjoyable 2014 GODZILLA reboot, then you should be fully satisfied with the visual feast the SAN ANDREAS director has laid out for you - with the final half an hour being the most relentlessly entertaining since Colin Trevorrow's billion- dollar breaking dino-rehash JURASSIC WORLD. Of course, we have to sit through the dreary dialogue and unconvincing characterisations before we can get to the destructive fun but once the creatures arrive in the Windy City, the film becomes an incredibly entertaining B movie blockbuster, filled to the brim with explosive action and utterly implausible stunts. It's also more violent than one would expect, with several scenes of horrific bloodshed and death sure to scare younger, more impressionable viewers. For once, the 12A rating is most definitely warranted here.
It's certainly not high art but I absolutely loved every single crazy second of RAMPAGE. Granted, it doesn't have any well defined characters, it doesn't accurately represent the video game upon which it is based, the tone is wildly inconsistent and it most definitely doesn't make any sense whatsoever. But what it does have is a gorilla, a wolf, an alligator and The Rock beating the living daylights of each other for 125 minutes and to be honest, that's perfectly fine in my book. In fact, it's pretty bloody brilliant.#