Primatologist Davis Okoye shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. 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 a discredited genetic engineer 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.
Rampage is based off a game of the same name, released in 1986 as an arcade machine. The game did well enough to spawn four sequel games and now this movie. As far as movie adaptions of games go, this one is pretty loose for a good reason. The game Rampage did not really have a plot. The backstory is that three people accidentally get mutated into big monsters. This makes them mad, so they start smashing cities. Each stage of the game is you as one of the monsters leveling a city. It does not really have an ending either, being arcade-format.
So, Rampage the movie was basically free to do whatever they wanted. With so little source material, people should not get too upset about not adhering to it. And considering what kind of movie this is, no one should go in expecting a cinematographic masterpiece. Thankfully, Rampage dodged the crappy movie curse that afflicts most video game adaptations. At its core, this is an action film that knew what it was and did a good job. The promotional material showed that the filmmakers and actors were legitimately trying to make a good kaiju (giant monster) movie.
The plot of the movie is a science experiment gone wrong, mutating animals into rampaging giants. And Dwayne The Rock The Tooth Fairy Johnson is the best chance to stop them. Visually, the film is amazing. The monster designs are crazy good, and they legitimately feel scary. There are several parts of the film that are darker, scarier, and bloodier than expected from something seemingly goofy. And really, all the crazy stuff The Rock survives is not much more ridiculous than the average action movie. It is like watching San Andreas (no, not that one), but with giant monsters also there.
There is a fair amount of humor in the film, as is expected from most of The Rock’s movies. The other characters are all fairly good as well. Naomie Harris plays the sidekick/scientist trying to do the right thing. Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy play the stereotypical evil corporate CEOs behind the mad science, but in two different capacities. Jeffrey Dean Morgan breaks some tropes as a government agent who helps out but is also a g-man jerk. For what it is (and was trying to be), Rampage is excellent. It is not an exaggeration to say it is one of the most solid giant monster films in recent times. And since there are multiple games, maybe one day we can get a sequel. Probably unlikely, but the possibility is there.