Star Rating:


Director: Brad Peyton

Actors: Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Release Date: Friday 13th April 2018

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Running time: 107 minutes

When a space station carrying experimental gas that can turn animals into giant, bloodthirsty versions of themselves crash-lands on Earth, an albino gorilla under the care of a primatologist (Dwayne Johnson) is infected and goes on a rampage - with a government agent (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and a geneticist (Naomie Harris) trying to reverse the effects of the gas, as well as stop the corporate executives (Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy) behind it.

There's a certain irony between Rampage and the arcade game from which it spawned; given how the arcade game was essentially just an excuse to have giant animals battling one another on screen for no apparent reason other than it looked fun, the movie is so desperately tied up in trying to explain and rationalise the existence of itself through reams of pointless dialogue and exposition from actors far more capable than the work put in front of them. It's a shame, as while the premise of Rampage is exactly the kind of blockbuster fare that's going over with audiences currently, the execution here is far too bland and safe for anybody to really care.

More to the point, the way in which the story is structured is done with the kind of plodding progression of a game and all the logic of one as well. Thing A happens, which causes Thing B to happen, which causes them to do this, and on it goes until you eventually find yourself waiting for it to get to the part where buildings start coming down and the giant animals start fighting one another. Of course, if you make it that far and you're still invested in it all after 80-odd minutes of ropey CGI and even ropier dialogue, the pay-off isn't nearly as rewarding as you'd think.

A lot of Rampage's faults come down to a poor script and poorer direction. Brad Peyton's filmography is riddled with bland blockbusters - blandbusters, if you will - like San Andreas and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, so it's no surprise that Rampage is very much of the same ilk here. Much of the dialogue rattled off by the likes of Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Jake Lacy is the kind of dull, numbingly procedural stuff and the few moments when it does try to build character development, it's done so cack-handedly that it's almost better if they didn't bother at all and just kept the action up and made it a bit more stylish and fun. Instead, you have Dwayne Johnson doing his best under the circumstances, Jeffrey Dean Morgan lapping up the chance to play a swaggering maverick government agent - who's both a cowboy in spirit and in presentation - and Naomie Harris, who's there merely as an exposition delivery device. Again, all three of these are capable of so much more, but the film offers them virtually nothing to do beyond making it to the next scene.

Of course, Rampage is exactly what it says it on the posters and in the trailers - a dumb, loud blockbuster that'll feature exploding buildings, giant animals fighting each other, and Dwayne Johnson making the odd quip here and there. Normally, that's fine. You go into these movies and there's a minimum expectation of fun and frivolity from it all, but Rampage just ends up as a dull and particularly uninteresting showcase of CGI and a cast way better than the material trying to make a go of it, but ultimately end up looking tired, bored and glancing at their watches every ten minutes or so while they're waiting for the end - which will probably be the same as the audience as well.