Rampage (2018): ‘The Rock of Friendship’ – A Film Review

 

Introduction

Based upon a 1986 video game about monsters destroying cities much in the same vain as King Kong and Gojira/Godzilla. In fact, the game’s characters include many people turned into biologically impressive animals including Lizzie (a Lizard much like a non-atomic ray breathing Gojira), George (a Gorilla like King Kong) and Ralph (a flying werewolf type of creature). Story may not have been the focus for a game centred on survival whilst causing widespread destruction and perhaps the thought of a blockbuster CGI fuelled destruction piece isn’t too much of a bad idea. Though inserting a story might be worthwhile. 2018’s Rampage staring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is exactly that attempt to add a story to a blockbuster interpretation of the game. Unfortunately, with many video game films there are changes, George now resembles a large Snowflake – the albino gorilla, Lizzie is a large mutated crocodile and very different to Gojira, whilst Ralph is more of a wolf than a werewolf. They are all animals first and monsters later explaining the change to some degree…

 

The Way it Works

Changing the characters to animals actually helps the story and set up, which involves a human connection to the creatures. Doctor Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) signs with Gorillas and has a close kinship with animals and therefore can communicate with George. Looking to Kaiju cinema Gamera: Guardian of the Universe used a similar technique to humanise the monsters by having a representative for Gamera. Mothra famously has two small twins that communicate with people for her. So, this also works for Rampage very well and therefore builds a wonderful character for George with a great sense of humour. This is complimented by great use of CGI and Motion Capture technology to ensure stunning visual set pieces.

 

The Way it Doesn’t

However, the story has a tendency to fall flat and thin. A lot of the side-line characters carry little to no weight making for a rather struggled pace whenever the animals or Dwayne Johnson aren’t on screen. This isn’t always down to the actor’s performances and notably Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Harvey Russell) is having fun in his role bringing an offbeat humour to compliment the film. Despite all this the film just feels basic and mild, as if catering to a much younger audience than one would expect (from some of the jokes).

 

Conclusion

What we’re left with is a great look to a film feeling like Rampage but lacking in story, whilst also changing the design. Since the game had a tendency to somewhat change their designs this could be forgivable, but is worth noting none-the-less. There is a heart to the George and Doctor Davis Okoye friendship, but this will only go so far in its 107minute runtime. Entertaining in its own way and adding a lot to the destruction and it is almost fun to think that the story of Rampage has come full circle. Inspired by Kaiju cinema, the game now returns its addition to cinema; throwing its all to place its monsters amongst the giants of cinema.

 

Synopsis

Doctor Davis Okoye works at animal refuse centre with animals such as their white albino gorilla George, but when the animals are exposed to a pathogen they mutate into aggressive and large creatures driven mad to head to a signal in the centre of Chicago.

 

 

Ratings

Entertainment:

 starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Performances:

 starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Predictability:

 starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Technical:

 starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

 

A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.

 

Films Mentioned

Gamera Daikaiju Kuchu Kessen / Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe (d. Shusuke Kaneko Japan 1995)

Rampage (d. Brad Peyton USA 2018)

 

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Interview with Dwayne Johnson & Naomie Harris

Interview with Brad Peyton

Interview with Dwayne Johnson

Bloopers

Behind the Scenes

The Director’s Problem

The Huge Problem

The Director on Video Game Films

 

If you liked this…

Jurassic World (2015) – A Film Review

Godzilla (2014) – A Film Review

Kong: Skull Island (2017) – A Film Review

Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018): ‘Too Many Threads– A Film Review

 

This was an analytical review of….

 

Rampage (d. Brad Peyton USA 2018)

 



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