Rampage (2018) – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson VIDEO GAME-BASED MOVIE REVIEW

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By Geno McGahee

The Rock (AKA-Dwayne Johnson) is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood…if not, the biggest, and he is just pumping out box office hits. The newest is a take on the old school video game “RAMPAGE,” which featured monsters eating people and tearing down buildings. There wasn’t much to go on as far as story, but they had the idea and they had the Rock. The rest, they figured, would work itself out.

Considering the success of films like GODZILLA and KONG ISLAND, bringing a film with similar-styled monsters makes a lot of sense, but they had to make them different. In the video game, it was obvious that the monsters were based on King Kong and Godzilla. So, for the movie, we have an albino gorilla named “George,” an alligator and a wolf raising hell in the city. They couldn’t have this resemble the upcoming Godzilla vs. King Kong film and they did a good job making it different in look and in vibe.

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Davis (The Rock) works at a zoo but he’s had a long past of kicking ass. Not shocking. It makes sense that a guy that looks like the Rock would have a past where he fucked people up. Poachers were the men that felt his wrath and it led to the rescue of a young albino ape. George has a great sense of humor and enjoys flipping people off. There is something about apes flipping people off that I’ve always liked. EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE had that orangutan that did it and I loved it then and I love it now. If you’re going to teach them sign language, you have to teach them the fun stuff too.

A company led by an evil brother/sister combination has been tinkering with genetics. Led by the heartless Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman) and Brett Wyden (Jake Lacy), they set up experiments on animals conducted in outer space to avoid detection but it goes wrong. The scientists die and the satellite explodes, but the containers with the experimental chemicals crash to earth, breaking open and infecting various animals, making them large and aggressive. George is one of them and he is growing substantially.

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As Davis tries to figure it out, Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) shows up and begins to explain what is going on, but before she can help out, the government steps in and sedates the gorilla an apprehends Davis and Caldwell. One of the best characters in the film, Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), is a government man that considers himself a cowboy with a gun strapped to his waist and a huge belt buckle. I never understood those, but southern dudes really like those huge belt buckles. I would imagine they are uncomfortable, but Russell seems to like them.

At first, Davis and Russell bump heads, but when the shit hits the fan, the two team up with Caldwell to defeat the monsters on their way to invading Chicago. The monsters are attracted by a sound that is being sent by the Wyden family with the hope that the military will take down the monsters and they’ll be able to salvage some of the DNA to make more of their genetic chemicals, which can be militarized and turned into a lot of money for the company. Claire has no regard for the lives of the people in the city. She is about as evil as they get, while her brother is just a dummy that just does what he’s told. They are very amusing throughout this flick.

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For the fans of the video game, the film starts to feel like it once the trio of monsters get to the city and start breaking down buildings and eating people. Watching the huge alligator climb the building was quite awesome. The visuals and action in these scenes were very fun and the Rock shows once again why he’s one of the biggest box office draws as he mixes comedic timing with good action scenes. Caldwell and Davis are in a race against the clock as the plan to drop an atomic bomb is in effect, hoping to help George and have him take on the wolf and alligator in a battle of the monsters. If they don’t figure it out quickly, Russell won’t be able to call off the bomb.

RAMPAGE is a fun movie. It’s not the Rock’s best for sure and there’s not much to the plot, but the characters are very good and the action is constant. The Rock is on his game and has a lot of funny lines throughout and so does George. George was hilarious. I have to give props to Lacy and Akerman as well. They were always amusing whenever they were on, and Dean Morgan was fantastic. I think this could have been one of those bad SyFy movies had it not had the budget and the great talent that they brought aboard for it. In the end, I recommend this. It was entertaining.

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Rating: 7/10