Rampage is inspired by an arcade game of the same name starring three kinds of monsters — a giant ape, a giant wolf and a giant crocodile. The aim of the game was to level as many city blocks as possible. In the film version, the twist is to save the city, Chicago in this context, from total annihilation. That kind of defeats the purpose of the source material, isn’t it? Giant monsters set on a path of destruction is the oldest special effects trick in the book. Sometimes ago, Pacific Rim: Uprising got released which carried the same premise. All King Kong, Godzilla, and other related films follow the same kind of plot-lines. So there is nothing new that you’re seeing here. The viewer is basically getting Godzilla, King Kong and a 30 foot wolf — which can fly like a flying squirrel and shoot spikes like a porcupine all in one frame laying damage to a urban landscape.
Dwayne Johnson plays a primatologist called Davis Okoye — an ex-special forces guy now turning his hand at wildlife conservation. He has brought up an albino gorilla by hand since the primate was a child and has taught it sign language. Which leads to the other twist in the plot, that of man and ape bonding with each other through sign language and even using rude hand gestures like teenagers at a frat party. So man and ape join forces and take on the other two monsters in the film. That team Johnson wins is a foregone conclusion.
How the animals become these giant creatures is a weird tale in itself. Apparently one evil mega-corp is conducting some hush-hush experiments in space. The space lab goes bust and the canisters containing the serum carrying a genetic mix of different species plus growth hormones lands and then cracks in front of a wolf, a croc and the friendly albino gorilla. Soon, they start growing larger and larger and start behaving more aggressively. The brother and sister duo behind the evil mega-corp (Jake Lacy and Malin Akerman) come up with the brilliant plan of bringing the monsters to their building through a sonar signal and then kill them and reverse engineer the lethal cocktail. This film has four screenwriters by the by…
Naomie Harris plays Dr. Kate Caldwell, the scientist responsible for inventing the genetic editing technology who later joins forces with Johnson. The duo share a good camaraderie though there is no romance between them as his character isn’t a ‘people’s person.’
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, plays a hush-hush agent from an unnamed government agency and hams it out like a cowboy. Maybe the character was intended for comic relief but all he does is jar our nerves.
This is one film where Dwayne Johnson, who normally dwarfs the screen, is made to feel puny by comparison. He is also told be a guy who likes animals better than men but he is too affable and well-mannered in the film to be able to effectively pull that off. The film basically reunites him with his San Andreas director Brad Peyton and he gets to do quite a few San Andreas kind of things like flying choppers into disaster zones and is perhaps wearing the same muddied T shirt that he wore in San Andreas. His buddy bonding with the gorilla is the best thing about the film. Otherwise, he and his awesomely proportioned muscles wisely take a back seat as the CGI takes over and runs amok all over…