Hick’s FLIX: Rampage – A Run-of-the-Mill Monster Story that Falls Short

by | Apr 23, 2018 | Film

The film Rampage, directed by Brad Peyton, based on the Midway video game franchise of the same name and starring Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, follows a group of scientists who must stop genetically mutated creatures from destroying the world.

The film opens on a space station that has been the scene of a disaster caused by experiments on animals using a serum that gives them superpowers.  When a superpowered rat breaks loose, astronaut Kerry Atkins, the lone survivor, must release capsules of the serum back to earth so the parent company, Energyne, can obtain them and continue to create living weapons of mass destruction.  After the destruction of the space station, the capsules fall to the earth, effectively being consumed by animals around the United States.

Johnson stars as Davis Okoye, a primatologist who studies gorillas at a zoo.  He prides himself on being able to communicate and train the animals, and has a particular connection with George, an albino gorilla whom Okoye has taught to use sign language and other communication skills.  When George stumbles upon one of the cannisters of the serum, he grows to enormous size with heightened aggression, and Okoye must stop the government and Energyne from getting their hands on him.

Hick's FLIX: Rampage - A Run-of-the-Mill Monster Story that Falls Short 1

Meanwhile, an alligator from the Everglades and a wolf in Wyoming also consume the substance, creating two other gargantuan monsters.  With the animals seemingly converging in Chicago, Okoye, along with former Energyne employee Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris), must get George on their side and stop the other creatures from destroying the city.  Enlisting the help from self-proclaimed cowboy and F.B.I. agent Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the three must find a way to thwart the evil company and save the city.

The main antagonists and heads of Energyne are Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman) and Brett Wyden (Jake Lacy), a brother and sister who are hell-bent on keeping the company running and perfecting the serum to create even more dangerous, killer creatures.  Akerman plays Claire as the conniving villainous that is customary of most B-action movies, and her brother Brett is the prototypical bumbling sidekick who is just along for the ride.

The action in the film is well done, but also very predictable.  Johnson plays Okoye as a virtually invulnerable hero who cracks wise and constantly saves the day.  Although utilizing his charisma and obvious physical characteristics in the movie, it still never feels like it tries to develop the character more than just being more of the same from his previous films.  The creatures, which are the basis of the video game franchise, are fun to watch as they destroy buildings and vehicles, but there is never any real story that has not been done before.

The movie is fun to watch as strictly an action film, but fails to do what films like Pacific Rim and Kong: Skull Island are able to do from a viewer’s standpoint.  There are definitely some laughs and big explosions, but Rampage will likely remain a run-of-the-mill monster movie that falls a little short.

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