ere comes yet another film so brainless that it relies on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s undeniable charisma and star power to draw an audience. Rampage takes its inspiration from the 1986 game of the same title and twists it like a kaleidoscope, changing the source material but keeping the part where giant mutant animals destroy the city.
The start of this film honestly feels like a screen test for “Life” .That film you went to see because you heard Ryan Reynolds was in it, only to feel lied to when they killed him off almost straight away? An astronaut is playing a dangerous game of cat and mutant rat as she races around the ship trying to secure the research she’s been working on and bring it back to earth. But as a catalyst for the actual plot starting, the ship blows up, along with her research….
The Rock plays Davis Okye, a characters whose last name for a first name could only be pulled off by a man who plays the same character in every film he stars in. Davis is primatologist and conveniently ex Special Forces who has a bond with extremely rare Albino Gorilla, George. Davis and George communicate via sign language and although most of the components of this film are idiotic, the shining grace and the driving force is the friendship between the pair. Their moments are genuinely comical, but for a film rated 12 it’s peculiar how much slipped through the net.
In this opening scene, we are introduced to three other characters that despite dialogue and set up for development, really act like Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams to the real star, Beyoncé.. Don’t get too attached to how this inexperienced team help Davis save world because as soon as Naomi Harris’ character Kate shows up the writer’s act like magpies and move on to the new shiny thing in the room.
Following the space explosion, the research catapults its way to earth and infects our beloved George, a Wolf which gets nicknamed Ralph and after further research a Crocodile named Lizzie that honestly looks like something that got cut from Jurassic Park. With the animals growing at an unprecedented rate no-one as a clue on what to do. Cue Kate, a scientist that worked on the research that turns out to be some Black Mirror fantasy. She had been working on using genetic engineering to cure diseases but the company, Energyne, classically wanted to abuse their power of good and use for evil. With George and company acting more destructive the government capture George, The Rock and Naomi Harris. The hunt is now on for the others.
What honestly follows now is a lot of mindless action and plot lines that are so careless that I had no clue what was going on. To cover their own backs, the brother and sister duo behind Energyne, use a high pitched frequency to bring the creatures to Chicago to kill them. With Davis and Kate trying to protect George from being killed from the government, she realises that the company will still have the antidote that will save them all. At this point the film goes into mega mode with Chicago being destroyed to a ghost town and it’s a race against time. These sequences are truly epic and the CGI work is remarkable.
There is no one but The Rock who could make this role work and he does it superbly. He’s able to elevate what is ultimately a weak script and make it emotive enough to see past the action and realise the real plot is between Davis and George. It’s mindless fun that without the Rock would fall flat on its face.
3 Stars, but don’t expect more than that.