'Rampage' can’t decide what type of movie it wants to be
Based on the popular arcade game of the same name, “Rampage” tells the story of a primatologist named Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), who notices his friend George, who happens to be an albino gorilla, is growing exponentially and getting angrier and angrier because of a mystery serum. The film then sets off with Okoye and Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris), who previously worked with the company that created this serum and weapon, attempting to save the world and stop a series of different animals who got infected and are destroying the city.
“Rampage” is the third collaboration between director Brad Peyton and Dwayne Johnson after “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” and “San Andreas.” They have seemingly found a comfortable formula to make adequate movies carried by Dwayne Johnson. With “Rampage,” however, it isn’t too hard to realize the laziness of the filmmakers, as they seem to keep making the same film. This film plays out exactly how one would expect: something bad happens in the world and The Rock prevents it from causing any major damage. These conventions don’t work quite work as well here as they do in some of his other recent films like “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” or even “San Andreas.”
The movie also struggled to properly balance the monsters with Dwayne Johnson’s storyline. The film cuts back and forth between them and seems like they’re two completely separate movies. The monster set-pieces are too few and far between, and are not wholly satisfying. They’re shot in dark areas, full of ash, cloud, trees and buildings. We get the bare minimum of what these monsters could do, and when it gets close to reaching that potential, the film cuts to Dwayne Johnson trying to get to the city.
This tug of war really sets the film back. If the filmmakers instead found a way to bridge the two together, the film would become much more cohesive.
The humor is lackluster, but Johnson and the supporting cast, including Harris and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who plays Harvey Russell) are noteworthy and make the film watchable. The direction by Peyton is hackneyed; there isn’t any semblance of personality or flair. The visuals won’t wow the audiences either, but they’re good enough and provide some decent eye-candy.
For audiences who want to see a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson movie, this might cut the mustard, but it is so mediocre and lazy that it seems soon enough the Peyton/Johnson formula will stop working.
Rampage was released April 12th.
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