Andrea's Unsolicited Review: RAMPAGE

Well, you are all going to hate me on this one. And I won't lie... I've had a couple of glasses of wine tonight, so this could be part of it.


I actually enjoyed this movie.  So let's talk about it, shall we?

Rampage, 2018

Look, folks, this isn't supposed to be a serious movie.  It's based off of a video game, and a very simplistic one at that. All you had to do was pick a monster and start smashing buildings and avoid getting killed by the Army guys. I used to play it myself, and of course I always picked Ralph (the wolf).

The game has been through its own upgrades, and it's a classic to some of us who spent hours playing in the arcade that had an indoor mini golf course and ball pit and tickets to win with cheap prizes behind the counter that were oh-so coveted. This isn't some great feat of video game engineering; it's just for fun.

So the film is made in that same vein. It has a plot similar to what the monsters in the game are: genetic mutations that have gotten loose and are destroying the city. Well, it's a bit more complex than that. How they mutate has a backstory to it, and I like the idea of "genetic editing", similar to what we have in the Jurassic World films. Suffice to say, they come up with what I think is a clever way to make George (the gorilla), Ralph and Izzie (the gator) come to life on screen.

Dwayne Johnson plays his usual casual heroic role with some snark and comedy here and there. He gives this one some intelligence, though, as he is playing a primatologist and it's clear he spent some time learning ASL and how it relates to speaking with apes. And it's nice to see that he and his costar Naomie Harris (Moonlight, Tia Dalma in Pirates of the Caribbean) don't fall in love by the end of the film. She is a lovely lady who plays a geneticist, so it's really nice to have two actors that have good chemistry play believable characters. (Well, I mean in the context of the film, of course.) 

An friend on Facebook said that Jeffrey Dean Morgan is trying his best to do a Tommy Lee Jones impersonation... I thought it was more like Billy Bob Thornton in Armageddon. I like how Jeffrey's character evolved, though. He's not a typical bad guy. However, Joe Manganiello does play a typical bad guy, but you can tell he sure had fun doing it. (Anyone else notice how there's a genetically enhanced wolf in this film, and Joe plays a werewolf in True Blood?) As a bonus, the military is played well; they aren't the bad guys of the film, just trying to protect America. I'm glad to see the military is being treated well in films like this nowadays. Doing the job they are designed to do, and nothing more or less.

I also have to give big props to Jason Liles who did the motion capture work for George. I honestly think we need a new category at the Oscars that includes these kinds of actors: motion capture, suit actors and voice actors. They really are ACTORS, and they work extremely hard at their craft. Jason brought character and emotion to what could've been a very clunky CGI gorilla, and for that I thank him.

Look, folks, this is no feat of amazing storytelling. It is meant to be entertainment. It's not meant to make you think deeply. It's a monster movie, for crying out loud. It has great FX, lots of explosions and roaring monsters. Yes, there are plot holes. Yes, overall it's completely impossible. But come on. If you want something more serious, let's not look to a video game film to find that. 

So here's the bottom line: I honestly recommend to grab some popcorn and a soda or beer (or wine, in my case), crank up your surround sound stereo system, and let this movie go to town for you. I found it to be fun and a good... well, Rampage of a film. Just lower your expectations and have a hell of a time watching monsters smash things up. Really, it's what we all need in our lives, right?

And don't worry. The dog doesn't die.