Dear Island Guests, Welcome back to my attempt to watch all video game based movies ever made. By Arceus, I did it! I watched a video game movie that is not total shit! I mean sure it isn’t great.. but heck it is based on a button bashy game about a wolf a lizard and a ape destroying cities! How did this happen?! Have I killed to many brain cells with bollshit?! Or is this actually a fairly competent movie? Let’s find out together. Also my apologies the changing image format. I watched this on Netflix so I got the screen grabs from IMDB..who apparently takes their screens from everywhere!
It’s not Congo
Rampage came out in 2018 and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as primatologist/former black ops and poacher murder Davis Okoye. He now works at the San Diego Wildlife sanctuary when unbeknownst to him stuff goes awry in space. An evil company by the name of Energy has been making a flexible DNA pathogen on a space station where one of their rats broke out. A lonely scientist trying to escape gets locked in until she retrieves the pathogen samples. She manages to retrieve three samples before fleeing back and escaping the exploding space station. However the rat has damaged her escape pod and upon reentry in the atmosphere the little window cracks and see is burned to a crips! The pod explodes and the three samples land on several places in the United States.
One in the Everglades where the Pathogen gets eaten by a crocodile, one lands in the forest lands of Wyoming where a wolf gets infected and one….what are the chances strikes at the San Diego Wildlife reserve. Here it infects George, an Albino Gorilla that happens to be Davis best friend. (That’s kinda sad) But George is a good boy gorilla who can speak in sign language! …Wait a second.. a Gorilla that is a best friend, whose sign language and Albino Gorilla?! There is a lot of stuff from the movie Congo here!
As George suddenly begins to grow and more erratic and aggressive a totally legit woman working for Energyne shows up telling she made the pathogen that made George like this. She has a cure but Davis needs to help her proof Energyne is using this pathogen for weapons. Being the evil company they are Energyne builds a radio tower to draw in these beasts so they can retrieve their pathogene.. but that doctor trying to save the world, Doctor Cate Caldwell she has to go! Can our hero use his bond with George to save Chicago? Can he bring back George from madness. All of these questions will be answered, in a vastly illogical but fun to watch movie. I mean there are plothoes the size of Kaiju here but hey this is a movie about a albino killer gorilla wrecking some stuff up and being almost immune to everything humans can throw it. Al becomes of some diamonds..wait no that’s not right! No diamonds! Flexible DNA pathogen that’s it.. this movie is not Congo.
A Man and his CG Gorilla
I played a lot of Gampage as a kid and George was never my favourite..but it makes sense to tell the story with him as a hero! A Gorilla that knows sign language makes a lot more sense than a wolf that follows every command or a a story about a man who trained Velociraptors that gone and mutated into something else. In fact I could argue that the interactions with The Rock and George are best thing in this movie. George is a fully CGI Gorilla obviously but there was a sense of bond I got from them still. I did not really feel the Rock was talking to nothing.. There was a legit bond between this Davis and George. Only in the action and funny moments though!
There are a few dramatic moments and here the Rock falters. He has become a pretty good physical comedy actor over the past few years. He even has some comedic timing to his lines. When he needs to be sad for a cgi gorilla though.. he isn’t always there..Still there is this very enjoyable bond between Davis and George I can’t help but like! Even though George is way too intelligent take seriously for example, this movie really establishes it is going over the top from the first moment! It starts in space! With an evil space rat and super evil organisation shenanigans. This movie practically is a 90’s cartoon including the talking animal sidekick.. but it leans into that.. and for that reason it really works. It’s camp but if you expected anything else after the first 10 minutes or heck even from the beginning you are in the wrong movie more so than the movie being wrong. If you see this movie as a live action cartoon you might have a great time with it!
The movie uses a lot of foreshadowing. After the first scene with Davis and George I was like… oh they better end the movie like such and so or I will be upset! I got exactly the ending I wanted..but also predicted. Well there was one joke I didn’t see coming at the end that made me giggle but all in all this movie is fairly predictable. Yet in a good way. After having seen a lot of video game movies this one at least feels capably made. It isn’t a masterpiece by any means but this movie does deliver what it promises. Character traits in both George, Davis , Cate and heck even the cowboy government agent they meet somewhere along the way are fairly established.
We know why Davis does the things he does even if it is not beneficial to a situation. We understand. Sure making him a former black-ops guy feels cheap and allows him access to a set of skills that are very convenient, yet at the same time he utilizes almost ALL of those skills. So it is not a wasted plotpoint to make him more cool.. it’s a trait so insane action sequences make some semblance of sense. Plus this movie is basically a 90’s cartoon! Of course he is a black-ops!
George is even used as more than just ape, Davis actually learns from him, and while again it is very convenient to the plot it happens for a reason. Davis has a reason to care for George and the fact that George cares for him has deeper implications. Cheap but it’s there.
So every time the Rock interacts with this CGI monstrosity is when the movie really does shine! You can see George sometimes breaking out of it;s aggression because it cares about Davis as well but never so much that it becomes that much more than an animal. In a way this movie creates a symbiosis. Both need each other, and the movie also needs both. it just doesn’t really need the side characters.
A Saturday Morning Cartoon
The weakest point is definitely the villains. Brother and Sister leading Energyne, which by the way is such an generic company name it hurts, are really clearly evil incorporated. I also do not really get their plan. Their plan is basically, make a pathogen that can make Kaijus ….. …… make money! Clearly there is a step missing there! They have no way to control the big beasties , so they make them freak out with a radio signal to draw them all to the city and let the military blow them up.. so they can take blood from their corpses. Or something?!
They also decide now.. after she got locked up for trying to break the project that Cate has to die… why not when she stole from you?! Why when she already told the cops about you and is just hanging with a Primatologist, do you decide that now she is very dangerous.
Why would you build that radio signal on top of your own company when you know the military has to bomb these animals to death. The nervous brother and the cold sister again seems like something of a Saturday morning cartoon. They also act a bit like Pinkie and the Brain.. if Pinkie was a corporate weasel instead of an dumb dumb. They are so in your face evil you can tell they are evil by just saying hello.
This comes with a few issues. At one point the heroes realise that Energyne is luring the monsters there into the heart of chicago by a signal on Energyne’s roof. In the middle of Chicago. They don’t care the city gets destroyed.. but your still a company.. if people are going to find out it was you who drew the monsters to Chicago even if they are blown up.. you are in trouble still.. I don’t think you can freely walk about and just take these monsters blood. Also you need to sack another multi billion dollar asset. The space station you blew up cost them 20 billion already and they just shrug it off. I am pretty sure no company can take a 40 billion dollar loss without any consequence. Their plot makes very little sense and their acting is quite poor! Funnily enough .. they end like 90’s cartoon villains. Like really.. (And no this is not a spoiler unless you think the Rock losing in a younger audience movie is actual a viable option) this brings a charm to the movie but also a makes it a bit of a guilty pleasure. Why was I so entertained by this?
The action is similarly over the top and delivers you some fun moments such as the Rock swinging a woman in a crashing plane to launch a forklift truck into the giant Gorilla, only to see them then do similar antics to yeet themselves and a cowboy cop out of plane grabbing Parachutes while the plane breaks up. A battle royal between Lizzie , George and Ralph is pretty good as well and given that there is a fair amount of environmental destruction, which was what the games are all about , it is at least somewhat faithful to the source material. Not that there is a lot to be faithful to. We see the most ridiculous action scenes and they are all fun. Yet they also recognise the limitations of their CGI and while it does make things more believable it also makes some of the camera work very unappealing. When a mercenary company is hunting Ralph in the woods of Wisconsin for example we get very dark shots, fog is used to bloom up details and most kills happen off camera. Never do I cringe that much at the CGI but at the same time I do wish that some of these scenes could have been a bit more visceral. There is almost no blood in the movies, which makes sense given that it seems to target a younger audience.. but the actions shots.. do not justify the lack of blood.
I am talking bisections, a beheading and impalement here.. all relatively bloodless. That just seems odd. But hey damaged characters do get dirty and get scuff marks… kinda like… you know where this is going.
I tend to use analogies to compare the movie to somewhere around the end of a review and in this case.. the best thing I can compare Rampage to is the game Rampage. Both are just a good bit of fun, with a story that is to dump and makes so little sense to put to words. Both have scenes that drag on and on but also some great action moments. It can keep you entertained for a good 90 minutes but after that you do not feel enriched or satisfied.. you just had 90 minutes of fun and that is it. I appreciate the movie for knowing that is is exactly that. It never oversteps that and that suits the movie.. yet at the same time that lack of ambition to ever be more is also its greatest flaw.
It’s like as if the movie makers saw this movie as a school exam. They answered the questions they knew the answer to REALLY REALLY well and got enough points to score a passing grade.. but if they had taken a moment to try to figure out one of these other questions they just might have gotten a better grade by scoring some half points on other subjects. If you ever want a movie to just turn your brain off with and enjoy stuff blowing up and the Rock doing Rock things.. this is a solid movie to watch! I watched it in this mindset and definitely will have to put it in my top 5 favourite video game movie adaptations. It isn’t anything special but fun can be good enough.
This movie is on the higher side of the fineapple spectrum a nice popcorn-flick that feels like a Saturday morning cartoon. As long as you don’t expect more this movie doesn’t dissapoint. If you do expect more.. you probably have not played rampage before! Did you see this movie? What did you think about it? Do you think Dwayne Johnson might be overused in movies?!
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