Directed by: Brad Peyton
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello
When three different animals become infected with a dangerous pathogen, a primatologist and a geneticist team up to stop them from destroying Chicago.
I’ve already said my piece about guilty pleasures and I have nothing to add to that, though this movie is the PERFECT example of what I mean by joyous cinematic experience.
I’m also a sucker for a gargantuan ape and have been ever since I was a kid and I saw the original King Kong (1933). It’s the first film I remember making me cry and has paved the way for a lot of my adult film tastes.
So with that in mind how on earth could I resist Rampage? Based on a video game I only have a vague memory of, it’s pleasantly bonkers and exactly what I wanted to watch on the big screen.
Former US soldier and member of an anti-poaching unit cum primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson) is best friends with George, an albino gorilla. Davis saved George as a baby from the poachers who killed his mother so you could say that their bond is as strong as it could possibly be.
When an experiment conducted in space by evil corporation Energyne goes horribly wrong, George and two other animals are exposed to a pathogen that causes them to grow at a rapid rate. Since this pathogen has something to do with genetic editing, it pairs certain traits of certain species together and this causes our animals not only to grow like nobody’s business, it also mutates them and makes them aggressive as hell.
All of this plays into bitchy CEO Claire Wyden’s Plan B. She lures George and his new friends (a wolf and a crocodile) to downtown Chicago in order to get a sample from their genetically juiced bodies (don’t focus too much on the plot, k?). With her drippy partner in crime, brother Brett (Lacy), Claire (Akerman) plans to get what she needs and blow this popsicle stand so she can continue her genetic editing research and gain back everything lost. But she’s not counting on the power of brotherly love is she? Oh no.
The Rock isn’t about to let George get hurt so he partners with disgraced former Energyne scientist Doctor Kate Caldwell (Harris) to get him back and in the process get his hands on the existing antidote and save the city. Will they succeed before it is crushed to the ground and George is killed too? Well, there’s one real easy way to find out…
Along the way they also form an alliance with Jeffery Dean Morgan’s agent Harvey Russell and honestly, I think Russell is one of the main highlights of the film. Morgan is having so much fun! There’s also a brief appearance from Joe Manganiello (one of my faves) as a mercenary wolf hunter which I enjoyed thoroughly.
This film was fun with a capital F and doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Dwayne Johnson is so likable that I don’t think I’ve ever disliked him on film – he has so much talent in his over developed body, I’m a massive fan. Likewise, Harris is great but you’d expect that from such a good actress.
The effects are exactly what you’d expect and the creature work is good, particularly where George is concerned. He looks and feels very real.
Unfortunately, both Akerman and Lacy are pretty whack as the evil siblings and that’s probably just about the only bad thing I can say about this adventure. Otherwise, it was a romp I was happy to be part of.