Let’s get this out of the way now: Rampage is a difficult movie to review.
On one hand you know this is simply mindless fodder that shouldn’t be taken seriously, but on the other hand this movie cost millions of dollars to make and not criticizing it is neither fair nor responsible.
This movie is made simply to entertain audiences and divert the average movie goer away from their stressful lives. Rampage is obviously not going to win any awards, but to be fair it is not trying to do so anyways.
In case you needed to be filled in, the plot of this movie is giant, mutated animals attack Chicago with only Dwayne Johnson and his friend George (a giant ape) standing in their way.
I will try to analyze this movie for what it is trying to accomplish. Is Rampage an effective, entertaining blockbuster that you should pay to see?
First, let’s look at the positives.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson absolutely brings it in this movie. He is easily the most likeable and hardest-working actor working today and he carries the movie on his back. Johnson routinely gets pummeled and battered down in Rampage, but he is noticeably having a great time.
His relationship with the ape George is the backbone of the movie and is what keeps Rampage from becoming utter trash. The fact that Johnson manages to develop a believable relationship with a CGI monster speaks for itself.
The CGI on George works very well as he is easily the comedic relief of the movie thanks to his humorous facial reactions. I found myself surprisingly invested in the CGI ape which is a testament to the movie.
Also, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Neegan from the Walking Dead) is in this movie and he eats up every scene he is in like it’s a gourmet buffet. He is having the time of his life despite being handed some terrible dialogue. He somehow makes it work.
Now it’s time for the negatives.
Rampage has quite possibly the worst villains I have ever seen in quite some time. They develop an unbelievably stupid plan which not even a first-grader would attempt. To make matters worse, they are given terrible dialogue and are as compelling as watching paint dry.
I would honestly would have preferred to watch paint dry then watch the sequences of the villain’s moronic subplot.
Another huge weakness is that every human character in this movie except for Johnson is just a shallow shadow of different stereotypes. The nerd? Check. The hot girl who asks the Rock out for some “submission time?” Check. The idiot army general who makes every bad decision possible? Check. The cowboy who talks with a huge country accent? You better believe it.
Like I said before, this movie is not well-written at all, and no one is trying THAT hard besides Johnson and Dean-Morgan who are in on this joke of a plot.
Rampage should be one of the worst movies of the year. It’s essentially the equivalent of a child playing with action figures and smashing them into each other as they make noises.
But what keeps this film from being like another one of those terrible Transformers sequels is that Rampage actually has heart.
There is an admirable anti-poaching and pro-wildlife theme in the movie which gets played out nicely. Also, Johnson manages to make me care about what’s going on because it really seems like he cares for his friend George.
Out of good taste, I simply can’t say Rampage is a good film. However, I had a decent time at the movies watching some well-intentioned nonsense powered by the best action actor working today. There are simply worse ways to waste your time.
I’m no longer surprised by “The Rock.” The man can carry any piece of garbage to respectability which is what he accomplishes in this outing.
Overall Rating: 5/10