The gratifying ‘Rampage’ is oh so dumb, as well as the perfect advert for a Dwayne Johnson/Jeffrey Dean Morgan Presidency
All of this destruction is good for the soul
Director: Brad Peyton
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris
3 (Out of 5) Globes
Plot: When George (Jason Liles), an albino silverback gorilla, is mysteriously infected by a contained gas that was created in space, and caused the space station to be destroyed by a giant rat, he suddenly becomes a gargantuan and aggressive beast. It is up to his best friend, the Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), and Dr Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) who helped to create the gas, to stop the seemingly unstoppable George. Their plight is made even more difficult when it is revealed that a grey wolf and a crocodile have also been exposed to the gas, and that all three of them are making their way to Chicago.
Review: At some point during “Rampage” you are going to find yourself confronted with a choice.
Either you’ll batten down the hatches and fully embrace just how flat out ludicrous the film is. Or dismiss it as the ultimate confirmation that we have dumbed down as a species.
I was perilously close to doing the latter. Because while watching a giant and overly aggressive monkey, crocodile and wolf destroy a major American city was both gratifying and entertaining, I thought, 'Surely Hollywood can do better than this?' At that exact point, though, a character being killed by a falling boulder made me laugh, so I decided to embrace the dark side.
“Rampage” is borderline out of control, but it constantly throws up a gag or a set-piece to get lost in. Something that’s easy to do with Dwayne Johnson leading the way in a softer but still just as captivating fashion, while Naomie Harris is always watchable.
It is Jeffrey Dean Morgan that steals the entire film as a gun-wielding Texan, though, as his Southern drawl makes everything he says sound witty, wise and cool. Morgan has such chemistry with Johnson that it is enough to make you dream he will be his running mate, if the former wrestler actually does take a shot at the Presidency.
Even they can’t save the hectic finale, as “Rampage” goes for the simple, loud, chaotic and outrageous over any sort of coherence. The enjoyment levels dwindle. But then “Rampage” reminds you that it is fully aware of its stupidity by daring to conclude on an egregious sex joke that will have you groaning in disbelief.
You see, like the needy teenager that’s eager for a friend, “Rampage” is happy to get any sort of reaction. Sure that makes it as frustrating as it is enjoyable. But since“Rampage” is clearly only aiming to be escapist cinematic fodder that also ultimately means that it delivers.