Movie Reviews

Rampage – Mindlessness Only Goes So Far

The film has been released for a few weeks now but not has been covered yet on the site. Hopefully this review will be worth the wait.

Synopsis: Primatologist Davis Okoye, a man who keeps people at a distance but shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, incredibly rare albino silverback gorilla who has been in his care since he rescued the young orphan from poachers. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size. To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals.  As these newly created alpha predators tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with discredited geneticist Kate Caldwell to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend. (Warner Bros)

Starring: Dwayne JohnsonNaomie Harris, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Writers: Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal, and Adam Sztykiel

Director: Brad Peyton

Rating: 14A (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)

Running Time: 107mins

Trailer: 

For showtimes and more, check out Rampage on movietimes.com.

Yes, the film has been released for a few weeks now and has found some success thus proving that there is an audience for these types of films. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s stupid and that can be enough in most cases as long as the film keeps these reigned in. This is obviously subjective as the film has had plenty of success so far but in this case, the film was just a little too stupid to take seriously enough to ever get engaged on any level.

Loosely based on the video game of the same name, the film is about a primatologist named Davis Okoye (Johnson) whose fried George, an albino silverback gorilla, becomes an unwilling participant in a freak experiment which mutated him into a much larger, much angrier creature. The problem quickly got worse as he wasn’t the only mutated creature as they also had to deal with a mutated wolf and a mutated crocodile as well. However, Okoye’s only concern was George. This was the only part of the story that worked but barely.

There were a few other subplots that didn’t quite work nearly as well, getting lost amongst the chaos. Most of these revolved around the evil corporation responsible for everything that happened. Evil corporations being evil isn’t an overly original concept and nothing changed in that regard. Of course said evil corporation, Energyne, will have inevitably hurt some people along the way. Cue Okoye’s partner, a geneticist named Kate Caldwell (Harris), who just happened to be looking for revenge against Energyne.

The story was so generic and stupid that it was hard to care about any of it. This was because the terrible writing. Not only was the plot contrived and riddled with holes, the dialog was either laughably bad or painful to watch. When the story tried to be funny, it wasn’t funny and when it tried to be dramatic, none of it rang true. While some will overlook this, it became painful to watch, especially knowing that the cast have all done better in other films.

While the special effects could have been the film’s saving grace, even they were disappointing. George was the most detailed of the creatures, however, the CGI as a whole was mediocre at best and noticeable more often than not. The destruction was admittedly fun to watch but it became hard to follow once there was too much on screen. Though the film had plenty of action, there never was a palpable sense of danger.

The best part of the film was the acting by default. While the writing was terrible, the acting was okay across the board. Johnson was somewhat compelling to watch and believable as Okoye. He’s been in plenty of bad films in his career, however, he’s never been the weak link and this was still the case here. Harris had no chemistry with Johnson and sleepwalked her way through the film. Morgan was just there but at least he was charming in what little screen time he had.

Overall, this was a mindless action film that will surely be divisive as most people will be able to turn their minds off for and be entertained (and have for the most part) while the rest won’t be able to overlook the terrible writing, stupid story, mediocre CGI, and okay acting.

Score: 3.5/10

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  1. Luckily, turning my mind off isn’t a problem for me in the least so I’m hoping I will enjoy this movie as much as I want to. Most video games that have turned into movies are terrible experiences but recently they’ve been able to at least make them action filled, mindless fun for 90 minutes. I’m hoping this one will accomplish that. But after reading your review, I hope the CGI and rest of it isn’t so bad that it brings it down, even beyond my low expectations.