The latest movie to star Dwayne Johnson, Rampage, made its way onto Australian Screens last week. Given the reputation of Dwayne Johnson and his huge success on the Jumanji film at the end of 2017 I went into this movie with decent expectations and was not left wanting.
The movie itself is about three separate animals becoming exposed to an experimental and weaponized bio-agent that increases their aggression and size dramatically. Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) finds himself in a desperate race against the United States Government to try and save his friend George, an Albino Gorilla under his care at the local zoo.
Rampage was everything that Hollywood is famous for and continues to follow a lot of the pitfalls that other Giant Monster movies have fallen into in the past, especially American attempts at the Godzilla Franchise. But Brad Peyton, the Director, used the excessive nature of the film and ended up giving it the difference it needed to set it apart from Godzilla and even Pacific Rim. In fact, while doing a little research after the film, I found that the movie itself is loosely based on an Arcade Game of the same title released in 1986. A lot of the plot points have been changed to fit a better narrative but the idea that a film this entertaining can be based on a game give me hope for the future.
Dwayne Johnson continues to steal the screen and put people in seats, regardless of the content of his film and I struggle to think of any film that he has had a part in over the last four years that I have not enjoyed. I even like Journey 2: The Mysterious Island… but I don’t have very good taste sometimes. The support he receives from Naomie Harris (Dr. Kate Caldwell) and Jason Liles (George) helps to make even the corny moments to be entertaining.
The primary “Villains” of the story are overall pretty forgettable, although that is not the fault of Malin Akerman (Clare Wyden) or Jake Lacy (Brett Wyden), instead they act more as a method for the climax of the film rather than being the climax themselves. Without them the whole movie would have never had a story about Giant Animals so while they are important, they are no Darth Vader.
Perhaps the best performance of the whole film was done by Jeffery Dean Morgan who plays Harvey Russel, a government agent that doesn’t do everything by the book. His character plays well against the archetype that Dwayne Johnson often ends up playing and their interactions are as much fun as between Johnson the George.
Overall I think this film is a definite watch. If you were let down by Pacific Rim: Uprising and want Giant Monsters beating on each other and wrecking a city then Rampage is the film for you.