Rampage: A Rock Solid Action Flick

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Dwayne the Rock Johnson and his furry friends star in an action packed movie. 

Gloria Han, Maroon-News Staff

As the name suggests, Rampage features an abundance of demolished buildings, (ineffective) gunshots, sprinting humans and, most importantly, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I think many viewers go just to see him – and can you really blame us? The man has been on a roll lately, with films such as Jumanji (2017) and The Fate of the Furious (2017). The former wrestler has such a charismatic presence (and build) that it isn’t any surprise to us that he’s usually starring as the hero. But enough about him. 

Rampage is loosely based on a video game series with the same title. The film begins with the destruction of Athena-1, a research space station owned by Energyne, a gene-manipulation company. The source of the havoc is a laboratory rat, which has turned unrecognizably large and violent, among other mutations. A crew member, Dr. Kerry Atkins (Marley Shelton), is ordered to retrieve research canisters containing the responsible pathogen by CEO Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman), who threatens to have her killed if she refuses. Atkins makes it to the escape pod, but it disintegrates due to the damaged porthole – killing her and leaving a trail of debris. The intact canisters end up all across the U.S.: the Everglades, where one is consumed by a crocodile; a forest in Wyoming, where a gray wolf is exposed; and the San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary, where our characters reside, including Davis Okoye (Johnson) and George, our favorite albino gorilla. 

I’ll start off with the cons. First of all, the script isn’t great. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of it was taken straight out of the video game (no offense). Every time Claire and Brett Wyden (Jake Lacy) spoke, I cringed. Secondly, Rampage has a very uninspired plot. It’s pretty much like every other monster movie out there, and inevitably there are some obvious comparisons with King Kong, except for the science-gone-bad aspect. Some critics have even remarked that you’d have a more fun time playing the game itself than watching it on the big screen. Unfortunately, I was never myself a gamer, so I can’t give an opinion on that. It’s also somewhat childish (humor-wise), cheesy and unrealistic, but I would say that the latter at least is a given. 

Regardless of all that, the movie is still undeniably entertaining. If you can just shut off your brain and forget about things like plot, character development and depth – then you’ll have a good time. There’s something kind of cathartic about seeing gigantic creatures annihilate cars and skyscrapers, and then face off against one another. Credit is due to the visual effects team in their ability to make the scenes and creatures so vivid and spectacular. Besides, Dwayne Johnson is as reliable as ever, and his co-stars Naomie Harris and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who play Dr. Kate Caldwell and Harvey Russell, respectively) also contribute in making the film a little more believable and funny. 

If you’re looking for an escape from heavy plots, then give Rampage a shot. Based on the crew of high school boys sitting behind me, that’s definitely what they wanted. Plus, you can doze off for a second and still be aware of what’s going on. I know that because I was watching with droopy eyes – from lack of sleep, not boredom – and I still managed to catch everything. So, if you’ve already seen A Quiet Place, your next best bet is probably Rampage, although beware of the difference in ear pressure.

Contact Gloria Han at [email protected]