‘Rampage’ video game movie falls short

'Rampage' video game movie falls short

Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), is forced into a race to save the world as his friend George, a silverback gorilla, and other animals are transformed into giant deadly beasts by an illegal genetic experiment.

AlexFlix

There’s not much to expect from a film like “Rampage.” When the plot revolves around Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson fighting off a giant wolf, gorilla, and crocodile, expectations lead into one direction, and unfortunately “Rampage” delivers exactly on expectations with a sub-par action film with a paper-thin plot.

The problem with “Rampage” and films like it is that they’re afraid of commitment. They want to be a little bit of everything without ever excelling at one aspect. Despite posturing as an American Kaiju film, a Japanese genre of films about giant monsters much like Godzilla, it also wants to be a romance, a comedy, and a science fiction action film.

It’s a problem many American Kaiju films have, such as the 2014 American “Godzilla” film, that spent more time on characters no one cared about and not enough time on what’s important. Watching giant monsters wreck things in spectacular special effects.

Does anyone really care about the backstory of Davis Okoye or his partner Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris)? What is the point of giving Okoye some deep backstory when he just acts the same way Johnson does in every other film. Why bother with a romantic subplot in a film that likely won’t have a sequel?

There’s not much to expect from a film like ‘Rampage.’ When the plot revolves around Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson fighting off a giant wolf, gorilla, and crocodile, expectations lead into one direction. Unfortunately, ‘Rampage’ delivers exactly on expectations with a sub-par action film with a paper-thin plot.”

— Alex Smith

“Rampage” is a film based off a video game about giant monsters attacking a city, so why does it take two thirds of the film to get to the action that everyone’s there for. If “Rampage” had committed to one thing and done it very well, like making a great giant monster action film, then it would be remembered more fondly instead of being the film that it is, one that tries a bunch off different and achieves mediocrity without excelling. That’s not to say abandon character development entirely for all Kaiju films, because Kaiju films like “Kong: Skull Island” have had interesting and fun characters. But if the film doesn’t commit to developing them deeply enough to matter, why waste time on it in the first place?

The film certainly has enjoyable qualities about it, once you get to the action that you really came for, the film’s certainly fun. The CGI looks pretty good, except on the wolf who occasionally looks worse than the crocodile and gorilla. Maybe rendering longer more fluid hair is harder than scales or short less -fluid hair, but it can be occasionally jarring to see the wolf next to the other monsters.

Some of the humor early one is funny, even if they start seeming out of place in the later half. Malin Åkerman as Claire Wyden and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Harvey Russell easily give the two better performances in the film, with Jeffrey Dean Morgan being the most fun to watch out of anyone, even if his southern accent is a little forced. Jake Lacy does a good job as Brett Wyden, but his character is so monumentally useless that it’s not worth remembering. The other actors are fine, but there’s not much else to love.

The best thing that can be said about “Rampage” is that it’s fun. Once it gets into the less serious aspects of a giant monster movie, it really starts to get into it’s groove. Unfortunately, by the time “Rampage” starts to understand what it’s good at, the film ends. If it had really focus into the niche elements of itself that really were fun, instead of being dragged down by unimportant side plots, “Rampage” could’ve been really good. Instead, we get a film that’s just below average.

 “Rampage” has a runtime of an hour and forty-seven minutes, and is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief language, and crude gestures.