In 1986, there was released an arcade game in which you could play as a lizard, an ape, or a wolf, move back and forth on a static screen of a random cityscape, and beat it to ash. That….is essentially the entirety of the plot of Rampage the arcade game. I fed an unholy amount of quarters into that machine, and had fond memories of the arcade game, which naturally required a feature film adaptation. Given my description of what the plot of the game was, you can see where they might need to add some things to reach a theatrical run time. I was hoping this was going to be a really fun bad movie. That was my bar going into the film. Instead, Rampage is a hyper violent, crass, ball of dumb (yes even by giant animals smash things standards). It’s not good bad. It’s just baaaad.
I hate ripping films. I really do. So, honestly, I wasn’t going to even write the short review I am for this (because it has eaten enough of my attention), but the film’s success in China means Rampage likely will get a sequel, and the film’s PG-13 rating and innocuous-compared to the film-trailers, in no way let parents know how violent and disturbing this film could be for kids. Yes, obviously, you expect mass carnage when the monsters attack, but on their way to and while destroying a large portion of Chicago, they graphically kill people by the truckload (even the “hero” monster). Bloody, disturbing violence to both people and animals dominates the film, and at a level where the film really should’ve been given an R-Rating if the MPAA was of any use whatsoever.
The film’s script gives Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris and Jeffery Dean Morgan virtually nothing to work with (though Morgan does try to squeeze every ounce of Cowboy Negan out of his character that he can). Really, this could’ve been something campy if they’d had fun with it, given some humor to the script, and weren’t so hyper focused on the destruction and justifying the junk science behind it (genetic editing is the new go-to science trope for film). The F/X are good, but when those F/X are rending people, tossing handfuls of them into the horizon like t-shirts at a ball game or munching them, you kind of lose any sympathy that you’re clearly supposed to retain for at least the albino gorilla. Just go see A Quiet Place again, or wait for Avengers: Infinity War.