Movie Review: Rampage is a Messy Misfire

RAMPAGE
Movie Review: Rampage is a Messy Misfire
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. He is a graduate of Journalism from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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Some movies are so frustrating and unpleasant to watch you feel like trashing whatever’s around you as the credits roll. Unfortunately, the only ones here with permission to enjoy their Rampage are on the screen.

Director Brad Peyton has created a woefully boring and angrily incoherent film that is far from entertaining. This kind of large-scale disaster flick should be fun. Instead, it’s thematically dark, cumbersome, and filled with violence that’s nauseatingly grisly. (In the first five minutes we see severed limbs and pools of blood scattered everywhere.)

As opposed to being lavishly silly or fun, the scattershot danger and intensity of the film is treated as a joke. Even star Dwayne Johnson’s coolness can’t distract from the sick grossness of what’s happening around him.

Loosely based on the 1980s arcade game of the same name, the basic story follows primatologist Davis (Johnson) following George, a gorilla at the zoo where he works. When exposed to a mutant pathogen, George and a few other unlucky animals radically grow in size before unleashing their newfound anger in civilian areas.

Instead of giving audiences the city-smashing thrills the trailers promise, there’s over an hour of dull monologues. It’s dull hearing more explaining and re-explaining the pseudo-scientific processes that are making the wild animals both huge and hugely mad.

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Yet the only real question I had was left unanswered: of the three main creatures, George the gorilla was the biggest animal to begin with. He grew ten times in size. The other two grew several hundred times in size…and somehow mutated.

Even the short scenes of watching the fights aren’t interesting. With its staggering body count and cheesy violence, it’s hard to say the movie is entertaining. Because the animals are so needlessly angry, the tone is sincerely scary instead of eye-popping. The only eyes that pop come from odd moments that range from inhuman to sloppy.

When rescuing another character, Dwayne Johnston goes so far (in a moment of intense peril) to gleefully say, “You’re Welcome!”, reminiscent of his fun-loving character in Disney’s Moana.

This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to inappropriately placed moments throughout the movie. Towards the end, I swore if there was one more shot of The Rock fist bumping someone, human or gorilla, I was going to vomit.

The most upsetting part, however, comes from Malin Åkerman as maniacal CEO Claire Wyden. Her performance is one of the most revolting displays of acting in years. Every line of dialogue and crooked smile she has is as disjointed and out of place as every other odd element from this forgettable blockbuster.

Her childish schemes are like that of a cartoon supervillain. Similarly, director Peyton crushed most of Los Angeles and San Francisco in San Andreas, his last city-leveling spectacle starring Johnson. The real problem is nobody stopped him from doing the same thing to Chicago.

There’s only one way to describe the total mess that is Rampage. Johnston’s character delivers a short zinger as the mutant, giant crocodile emerges from the Chicago River. After seeing the monster for the first time, he plainly says, “Well that sucks.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Rampage
1/2 out of 4 stars

14A, 1hr 47mins. Action Drama Disaster.
Directed by Brad Peyton.
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Åkerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and George the CGI Gorilla.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX.

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