By Dave B.
In Rampage (2018, currently on HBO) Dwayne Johnson plays a primatologist who’s best friend, an albino gorilla named George, becomes infected with a bioengineered pathogen that dramatically increases his strength, size, speed, and regenerative abilities. The world soon discovers that George isn’t alone in his transformation as a wolf and a crocodile, who have also been infected, begin terrorizing the nation. When the evil corporation responsible for the creation of the pathogen decides to take control of their unintended creations, all hell descends on Chicago and a giant monster rampage ensues.
Rampage has some bright spots: It’s moderately funny at times, the CGI isn’t terrible, and there’s very little down time in the movie. Best of all are the performances. When Johnson is in an action movie, regardless of it’s quality, you know you’re going to get a hero that you can root for. With Jeffrey Dean Morgan included in the cast, we’ve got a film oozing with charm and a fair bit of wit. This movie would’ve been much better if Johnson and Morgan had had more time onscreen together, because the energy that they bring to their roles compliments each other’s performances well.
The biggest problem with Rampage is that it’s TOO nonsensical. I understand that it’s a giant monster movie, but it doesn’t make even the slightest effort to have some of it’s most pivotal characters take reasonable actions to pursue their goals. For example, the villains want to hide their involvement in the situation and remain out of prison. That’s sensible. Their plan for doing this is to lure giant, violent, mutated animals to their headquarters in downtown Chicago so that they can administer some magic potion that will make the creatures docile. That’s insane. People won’t notice three animals the size of large houses converging upon a skyscraper and eating everyone they encounter along the way? And the fact that the military claims to have evacuated half of downtown Chicago in about 30 minutes is even more absurd.
Rampage isn’t terrible, in the sense that it’s intended to be mindless fun and it generally succeeds at that. And the characters are mostly likeable, which makes the movie even more watchable. But it’s so lazily written, so poorly thought out, and defies reality and common sense in such unnecessary ways, that I can’t recommend it. I didn’t hate Rampage. I think there are a lot of people out there who will enjoy it. But for me, too much of the plot was annoying. And if you’re the type of person who prefers that the movies you watch make at least some attempt to be rational, you’re likely to feel the same way that I do about this one.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.