Arts, Movies, Review

‘Rampage’ Employs Lackluster Acting and Inferior Video Game Plot



In space, no one can hear you scream. As evidenced by the opening scene of Rampage, it’s also apparently a great place to develop aggressive gene-editing agents that can turn a lab rat into a vicious killing machine. A scientist tries her best to make it off the ship before the prenaturally enlarged and mutated rat kills her. She manages to get the precious research—a case full of gene-editing agent. After her escape pod blows up, three of these capsules crash into earth, infecting and mutating an albino gorilla, a wolf, and an alligator.

Meanwhile, Rampage has introduced the audience to Davis Okoye (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and his friend, George, the aforementioned albino gorilla. Okoye works with George in a wildlife preserve in San Diego. He and George have become fast friends, communicating through sign language. After George begins to be mutated by the CRISPR gene editing agent, Okoye meets Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris). Caldwell was the one who helped develop this mutagen for the evil corporation, headed by siblings Claire and Brett Wyden (Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy). Okoye and Caldwell join forces after George is captured by the government to be taken for testing.

The crux of the plot can be summed as such. The evil company has incorporated bat DNA into the mutagen, which allows the mutated creatures to be summoned by an ultra low frequency (sure). The company has also developed a serum for neutralizing the aggression of these creatures, which they will then sell to the government. Profit? What really matters in Rampage is that a giant gorilla, a giant wolf with wings, and an even giant-er alligator (no wings) are duking it out with the military (and eventually with each other) in Chicago.

Much like a Pacific Rim movie, anyone who has ever seen any movie knows whether they want to see Rampage. Is this movie good? Not in the slightest. Should you go see it? You already know the answer. If you wanted to see this movie, you likely already have. In you didn’t want to see this movie, you probably never will. Is The Rock the most charismatic actor who has ever lived? Perhaps.

The acting in Rampage, such as it may be, ranges from decent (The Rock and Naomie Harris) to terrible (Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy) to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Yes, Morgan essentially reprises his swaggering, over-confident, snide role as The Walking Dead’s Negan. This time, however, he wears a suit and works for the government instead of carrying a baseball bat named after his dead wife. He isn’t really acting, so much as he is imitating himself. While Morgan does well with this character in the much-too-popular AMC television series, it appears that he has begun to be typecast with his role in Rampage.

The plot of Rampage is a poor excuse for a movie starring The Rock in which giant monsters destroy cities and fight the military—loosely based on an ’80s video game in which giant monsters destroy cities and fight the military. There’s really nothing else to this movie. There are some nice or funny moments, most of which are comedic beats from George, the giant albino gorilla. Other than that, Rampage is a great chance to see The Rock save the day from yet another city-flattening disaster (San Andreas) through sheer charisma and muscles alone. This isn’t necessarily a bad formula for movies, but it’s a bad formula for good movies. Rampage might be able to crush cars and topple buildings through the strength of its CGI’d monsters, but it doesn’t have the power to stay in theaters more than a few weeks.

Featured Image by New Line Cinema

April 18, 2018