Rampage is a 2018 American Sci-Fi movie that is directed by Brad Peyton and is somewhat based on a video game series bearing the same name that was released in the mid-1980’s. This film pivots on Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), a former army special forces turned primatologist who is caught up in a big mess as an albino gorilla, whom he nurtured, alongside other animals of the wild take in a mutation-inducing pathogen causing them to wreak havoc wherever they set foot.
Straight off the bat, I ought to acknowledge that this film has an incredible opening scene. The reason why I liked it is because I can picture someone who comes to the theatre a minute or two late and looks at the screen showing this movie with a disappointing look on his or her face thinking that the latter just ended; a majority of it sure did feel like something you’d seamlessly fit into the 3rd Act of any movie of this genre.
That said, there are a number of things that you are more inclined to hate or like about this film depending on your perspective; let’s dwell on the positives first. The plot is not as lethargic as I pictured it would be; one thing leads to the other and you can follow the happenings without bother. Secondly, the acting performances under the stewardship of Dwayne Johnson were acceptably good. The latter’s character has a rock solid connection with the albino ape named George, pun intended; it is very apparent when they do the non-verbal conversations, some of which I didn’t particularly like because it took a comedic tangent that I just wasn’t getting the hang of. Naomi Harris as Dr. Kate Caldwell was great; she had her purpose in the film and she served it well. I would say the same for Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan); the ‘Walking Dead’ actor had his moments but all in all sounded weird with that western-ish accent. I think the movie should have just gone with the way he normally speaks.
On the other side of the coin, the villains here are not compelling; not at the very least. Portrayed by Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy, Clair and Brett Wyden, in my view, are not worth investing in as the characters they play and every time the film cut to them, it took a sting out of the movie’s progression. Secondly, just like all movies of this caliber, there are some things that happen and the first thing that comes to mind is, “No, that’s not possible”; we have quite a number of them but the few I will mention, I feel, will suffice. In my honest opinion, I do not believe, even if its a Sci-Fi flick, that 3 people can jump off a crashing plane with parachutes on at different time intervals and land at the exact same spot, or that someone can get a clean shot to the lower torso which leaves him on the floor and the next moment he is up and running with no expressions of pain, or even that an ape can intentionally make provocative hand gestures but hey, that’s movies for you.
One thing that I must laud the film for shedding light on is the scourge of poaching. If you don’t already know, I am a citizen of Kenya, born and raised, and for a country whose GDP is significantly contributed by wildlife tourism, I’d say this particular aspect hit home immediately. A vast majority of Kenyans value wildlife a lot and that’s why there was a widespread uproar when the government planned that the flagship railway system dubbed SGR would go through a national park in the capital of Nairobi. Since time immemorial, we have been dealing with poaching without considerable success and thus, without spoilers, the story of George on ‘Rampage’ which is vividly narrated at the beginning of the 3rd Act is one that I notably sympathise with and find riveting.
Having watched Pacific Rim Uprising not so long ago, I was a bit skeptical as to how Rampage would present itself to the audience; would it have similar qualities to P.R.U on not? When I put the two against each other from a plot perspective, I’d say this Brad Peyton film is more fleshed out. It’s a watchable motion-picture with awesome visual effects and of course, you wouldn’t not want to watch a movie with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a lead role. Well, we have a few exceptions like 2005’s Doom and last year’s atrocity in Baywatch but all the same, I think you get my point, right?