Possibly one of the most unnecessary but pleasingly distracting movies seen in a while.
An evil corporation’s science experiment goes haywire when their orbital space station explodes, sending the man-made pathogen down to Earth. Conveniently crashing over a localized area in America, transforming animals into giant, monstrous forms.
Dwayne Johnson, who seems to be in everything right now, returns in this obscure video game-turn-movie, as Davis, an ex-military man who now runs a wildlife protection agency, focusing on rescuing animals from poachers. We quickly learn that he doesn’t make “human relationship”, as a result of having seen humans kill animals for sport, preferring his friendship with George, a white gorilla, in his care.
On reflection, this is an unusual performance for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to carry off. He has immense charm and exudes an air of magnetism, which he does from his first scene! He jokes around with his other human counterparts.
This is a microcosm of the film’s overall tone. Despite being based on a video game and being an excuse to have giant animals rampage in a city, it does actually try to have “moments”. But just as quickly as it tries, it reminds us of what its real intentions are; giving the finger jokes. Very high brow.
Of course, not that the audience should be looking for real emotions in this film. This deliberate “dialling back” is probably for the better! Our villains in the movie are ridiculous caricatures, a business woman bent on destroying a city simply to sell a cure to stop the virus she had manufactured, and her sniffling male counterpart. They are as transparent as they come! Of course, Dwayne Johnson can’t fight a mega-corporation on his own (who am I kidding, I’ve seen the man kick a torpedo into a jeep while driving over a frozen lake) so we need a woman who has information “from the inside”.
Perhaps the most interesting character, who stands out due to his alignment and methods not falling into the tropes of the villains and the heroes, is Jeffery Dean Morgan’s (The Walking Dead) character. He is practically a deus ex machina for our heroes, providing helicopters other aircraft, but he plays a self-styled “cowboy” lawmaker. Which, compared to everything else, was refreshing.
The CGI on the creatures was pretty good, although emotions felt for George were limited compared to that of Andy Serkis’s performances in the recent Planet of the Apes movies. But at least the film showcased the giant animals! There wasn’t much obscure the effects (clouds, buildings etc) and seeing them leap at buildings and helicopters was entertaining. It is certainly more flamboyant than Godzilla 2014.
But, at the end of the day, Rampage is utterly mindless and exactly what you would expect. Reminiscent of Johnson’s other films such as San Andreas.
Good airplane movie, which is how Cinema Cocoa watched it!