My sister Linda and I made use of our Movie Pass cards to take in the new release Rampage this afternoon. This action flick, loosely based on an arcade game by the same name, promised fun entertainment on a cold spring day. We were not disappointed.
Rampage stars Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Malin Ackerman and Jake Lacy. Directed by Brad Peyton, this sci-fi adventure is rated PG-13 for intense action sequences, violence, mild language and a few crude hand gestures…by a giant gorilla! The film has a run time of 1 hour and 46 minutes.
Davis Okoye (Johnson) is a primatologist working with primates in an animal park. He feels a much deeper connection to animals than he does to humans, preferring to spend his time with an albino gorilla named George (body work done by Jason Liles), that he rescued from poachers. Davis raised George. They learned to communicate by way of sign language.
When an illegal gene editing experiment goes wrong in space, the orbiting lab and escape pod explodes, sending canisters crashing to the earth like meteorites. One lands in the primate habitat. The pathogens within the canister escape, contaminating George, causing his body to grow rapidly. He also shows strong aggression and has the ability to heal injuries quickly.
George is not the only animal affected. In Montana a wolf grows to 30 feet in length, while in the Florida Everglades an alligator is transformed as well.
These mutations are the result of the secretive genetic work of brother and sister team Claire (Ackerman) and Brett Wyden (Lacy). With their test results destroyed in space, they need info collected from the monstrous animals. They beam out a signal that irritates the beasts, drawing them to their city of Chicago.
As the animals move toward that city, Davis teams up with research geneticist Dr. Kate Caldwell (Harris), a former employee of the Wydens. She doesn’t know how to stop the creatures but she was working on an antidote in the lab in Chicago, before she was fired.
The pair is aided by a government agent, Harvey Russell (Morgan), whose original assignment was to “put out this fire”. He quickly realizes standard procedures won’t work and frees Davis and Dr. Caldwell to fly to Chicago in a military chopper to stop the rampage.
And a rampage it has become. The three beasts converge on the city, driven to rage by the radio signal audible only to them. As they lay waste to downtown Chicago, Davis must make difficult decisions about his primate friend, George.
This monster movie was a wild romp. There weren’t any deeper messages or ahas during the film, although the underlying themes were friendship and loyalty. However, it was a fun action packed movie to watch and enjoy. There were funny scenes and even a few touching scenes. But there was no mistaking the intent of this video game made into a movie. It was all about nature running amok and destroying everything in its path.
The muscular Dwayne Johnson excels in the disaster genre and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is always a joy to watch. The real star of Rampage, though, is George. The CGI work keeps getting better and better in the film industry. I ended up caring about that big gorilla who was an innocent victim of unlawful and unnatural experiments.
My intention was to preview this film for my grandkids, who have expressed an interest in seeing it. For the most part, the violent scenes cut away just before blood and gore are shown. And strong language gets muffled out somewhat. My grandkids would laugh in all the right places and fall in love with George. They would find his occasional rude hand gestures hilarious.
I enjoyed this movie. It reminded me of the many many monster movies I watched as a kid…Godzilla and Mothra and King Kong, swamp monsters and werewolves and a plethora of gigantic creatures. These stories are so far beyond what is possible that they can be appreciated for what they are…entertainment. And I was entertained.