RAMPAGE, the latest film from director Brad Peyton (San Andreas), is an exhilarating action/adventure movie that includes over-the-top creature designs that will still appeal to the masses why also finding enjoyment from fans of the horror genre. The film stars everyone’s favorite, Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock), as well as Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Malin Akerman (Final Girls), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“The Walking Dead”), Jake Lacy (Miss Sloane), and Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike XXL).
The film centers around primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) and his friendship with George, an albino gorilla that he has cared for since rescuing him from poachers as a child. Meanwhile, we learn that in space, a genetic company has been testing out a new experiment titled Rampage as a way to weaponize animals for combat. However, the experiment takes a harsh left turn, resulting in the formula escaping and crashing towards Earth transforming George, and two other ferocious animals, into raging killing machine monsters. It’s up to Okoye and his team to retrieve the antidote, not only to save George, but to stop a catastrophe from spreading across the world.
Let me start off by saying that after seeing RAMPAGE, I can say with 100% certainty, that I will watch any movie that stars Dwayne Johnson. I don’t care how ridiculous the premise is, Johnson delivers every single time and remains one of the most likable and enjoyable actors of the current times. Going into this film I had very little expectations, mostly because it was based off a video game where monstrous creatures, such as George the Gorilla, smashed buildings. I wasn’t really sure how this was going to translate properly onto the big screen, but honestly, I wasn’t disappointed at all. Having never played the game I can’t compare the enjoyment of the video game experience as it pertains to the film, but nevertheless, I walked away with a giant grin on my face and a happiness towards big budget monster movies.
What really blew me away with RAMPAGE was how violent the film actually is. For a PG-13 rating, I was insanely impressed with the amount of bloodshed they were able to get away with. Also, without spoiling anything, there is a death scene that I was shocked to see occur considering how high profile one of the actors were. I love when films are willing to take a risk in killing off a big name early on, it’s something that most big budget movies aren’t willing to do. For those of you wondering if there was enough horror elements in the film to satiate your cravings, I’m here to tell you YES THERE ARE! Though maybe not in the most traditional sense, depending on what you consider “horror”, the film packs some heavy punches in not only the monster creations but also in violence and jump scares.
The movie also presents us with a slew of acting talent that make the film even more enjoyable. We’ve already discussed briefly how incredible Johnson is, but it’s important to also point out the strong female presence that this movie has. Not only do we have a troubled yet kickass scientist, Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) who becomes Okoye’s right-hand person, but our main villain is played by Malin Akerman. So often the villain role is played by a male actor that it becomes a tad bit repetitive so it was definitely refreshing to see a strong female character in that role. With all that said, I would have liked to have seen more screen time for these characters and hopefully in future films more strong female based characters will reign supreme.
Overall, as I'm sure you can tell, I absolutely loved RAMPAGE. I loved the extreme antics of the monsters, I loved the silly premise of a weaponized experiment on animals gone wrong, and I love all the actors that were involved. Even though I’m a huge fan of practical effects, I was willing to put that aside in order to take in all the glorious CGI of the creature effects. I fully believe that sometimes we all just need an entertaining movie to take our minds off the horrors of day-to-day life and RAMPAGE was that movie for me. It may not be the best movie of the year, but you’ll be hard pressed to not have a hell of a good time watching it! RAMPAGE is now out in theaters across the U.S. from Warner Bros. Pictures.