Rampage Review

  • Directing8
  • Writing6
  • Acting7.5

Rampage is every bit as fun as it looks, featuring larger-than-life special effects and action to keep you entertained and a handful of reliable performances from the likes of Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It's probably one of the least-offensive video game adaptations to date.

San Andreas director Brad Peyton re-teams with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for Rampage, a larger-than-life monster mash, loosely based on the video game of the same name. Rampage might not be all that brainy or Earth-shattering, but it’s big, it’s loud and it’s a lot of fun.

Alright, here’s the drill. There’s a deadly pathogen that can somehow mutate the genes of animals and essentially make them bigger, stronger and more unpredictable. It was being tested in space and something went very wrong, causing the pathogen to make its way down to Earth and infect three creatures: an ape, a wolf and an alligator.

Now, a primatologist (Dwayne Johnson) and a geneticist (Naomie Harris) must team up to prevent these creatures from destroying Chicago.

If the plot to Rampage sounds incredibly silly, but potentially awesome then you have correctly described the film. Director Brad Peyton has re-teamed again with his golden boy Dwayne Johnson for yet another disaster movie, only this time one that stems from science splicing and bad intentions.

Rampage is a wholesome and massive monster movie that continues WB’s hot streak, following Kong: Skull Island from last year. Rampage might not be as visually creative or imaginative, but it’s still a lot of fun condensed into a lean running time, rarely wasting a second of screen time on a pointless character or something that doesn’t further it’s basic, yet engaging plot.

Dwayne Johnson turns in another likable leading role, playing primatologist Davis Okoye. Davis may be a massive man, but he’s got a soft spot for animals, especially his ape friend George. He rescued George from the wild and has dedicated his life to ensuring his safety and the safety of other animals. It’s also worth mentioning that Davis of course has a mysterious military background that makes him very useful with his hands. And weapons.

Johnson continues to land roles that don’t require a whole lot of acting, yet he still somehow manages to make memorable. His on-screen charisma fuels these otherwise throwaway roles that other actors generally collect a quick paycheck on. Johnson remains dedicated to his craft and gives Davis enough backstory and purpose to make him worth following throughout the film.

Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) is a geneticist that helped create this recipe for mutation disaster, but of course she originally was doing it for all of the right reasons. She wanted to heal a sick family member, but her work got sucked up by two greedy billionaires that are looking to weaponize the formula and make a whole lot of money doing so.

Harris’ performance definitely feels a bit restrained and overshadowed when compared to Johnson’s broad and heroic delivery and Jeffrey Dean Morgan‘s wildcard performance as an extension of his Walking Dead character Neegan. I’m generally not one to complain about a JDM performance, so we’ll leave it at that. He’s great as usual, but not exactly stepping out of his comfort zone.

The three keep Rampage from falling down on its lesser traits, including a supporting performance from Malin Akerman. Akerman’s performance is borderline horrible, but luckily not much of the film is wasted on her or her on-screen brother’s character. Both serve a very one-dimensional purpose and with that in mind, they do just fine.

Most of Rampage‘s credit must go towards the film’s action sequences and excellent effects work. Rampage is a city-destroying monster mash-up that pits giant creatures against each other in destructive ways and director Brad Peyton does a bang up job capturing all of the chaos and insanity.

The film is based on an old video game that mostly featured an ape smashing buildings and eating people and boy were they able to expand on that basis to create a monster movie that’s quite entertaining.

Rampage is yet another better-than-expected Hollywood blockbuster and I credit its success to Dwayne Johnson‘s commitment to giving the film a true leading star and director Brad Peyton‘s continued success as a big-budget action filmmaker. Together, the two have continued to make movies that are fun to watch and experience. They may not challenge your brain or address a hot world topic, but their films are always delivered with good intentions that rarely feel lazy or unmotivated.

It’s clear that Dwayne Johnson cares tremendously about his audiences and delivering on their expectations with each new film he makes. Rampage could have been empty and dumb or lazily-handled, yet it’s not, because of Johnson and Peyton’s dedication and ability to deliver on such wild and silly stories in the most serious of ways.

Rampage is big and loud fun that you don’t want to miss.


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