Review: Rampage

April 12, 2018

When I was a kid, a friend of mine lived down the block who had arcade games in his garage.  None of us were wealthy so I have no idea where they came from but it was dope AF.  One of the games he had was Rampage.  While everyone else was obsessed with Contra, I was fixated on Rampage.  This was before video games had stories but Rampage was especially stupid.  It was simply was a game where you got to choose from three giant monsters, a gorilla named George, a lizard name Izzy, and a wolf named Ralph, and you had to climb and destroy different buildings before the Army came and killed you.  Now, if you think a movie based on a game that dumb would be a low point in the history of Hollywood, you would kind of be on the right track.

This movie stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson because…well…it has to.  It’s the kind of film that is tailor-made for him and only him.  If you doubt that, simply look at his character — Davis Okoye is a brilliant primatologist working with gorillas at the San Diego Zoo who is also an ex-Secret Ops military badass who knows his way around complex military-grade weapons and aircraft but still has a heart of gold so much so that he lives alone and prefers animals to humans.  That kind of backstory for a character is almost as unrealistic as the existence of a giant flying wolf that wants to destroy Chicago.

As much as Rampage was made for Johnson, the same could be said for director Brad Payton.  He’s the same guy who gave us other CGI silliness like San Andreas and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (both also starred Johnson).  Now, I’m not saying that directing a movie like this is easy; in fact, it might be harder than directing Oscar films like Lady Bird or Call Me By Your Name because you’re making a movie uphill.  He knows he’s not going to win any awards or be remembered for doing something great but he still can’t crank out something that is actually worse than expectations and that’s exactly what he did.  Rampage is bad but it’s not worse than what I was prepared for and in a small way, that’s a victory.

The rest of the cast is as forgettable as the movie itself.  The impressive Naomie Harris (Moonlight, 28 Days Later) sells out to appear in this.  The adorable Malin Akerman (Watchmen, Couples Retreat) gives one of the worst performances of her career as a laughably awful villain.   However, Jeffery Dean Morgan (AMC’s The Walking Dead, Watchmen) is pretty fun to watch chew every scene up as a cowboy-esque FBI agent that somehow sells some terrible dialogue.  And for us Sactown residents, UFC champ Uriah Faber shows up in one scene to deliver one line before getting eaten by a monster too.

Now, I realized something as I watched Rampage.  Sitting next to me was a 12-year-old boy who came with his parents.  This kid was loving every second of this film.  He was laughing at the dumb jokes.  Getting excited at the dumb stunts.  Even seemed like he was getting feels at the dumb drama.  What I realized while watching him was that this movie was not made for me.  Rampage was made for 12-year-old kids who didn’t get the luxury of standing in their friend’s garage playing the arcade game.  So just because I hated this movie and thought it was idiotic doesn’t mean it didn’t serve its purpose.  I’ll bet if you asked that kid what grade he’d give it; he’d probably say a solid A.




Check out Intern Kevin blowing up what Warner Bros sent Gavin to promote the movie "Rampage":