Plot: A genetic experiment that was too dangerous to engage on earth has been put into motion elsewhere, in the isolation of space, to ensure the risks of exposure are minimal at worst. But when one of the experiments becomes violent and demolishes the space station, a lone survivor manages to escape with some research samples, which then fall to earth after the escape pod explodes. One of the samples lands inside a wildlife sanctuary, where an albino gorilla named George stumbles upon it and is changed in drastic ways. His trainer Davis (The Rock) arrives when he learns George has caused some trouble and finds that the gorilla has slaughtered a grizzly bear, but also grown in size by a massive leap. As he tries to find answers, government agents arrive to take George in and share that he isn’t the only animal impacted by the samples, as a giant wolf is also on the loose. Meanwhile, the corporate execs who helped create the situation seem intent to recover some expenses and avoid blame, but will anyone survive long enough to even worry about legal concerns?
Entertainment Value: This movie is based on the classic video game of the same name, but aside from the name and presence of massive, destructive beasts, there’s not a lot to connect the Rampage worlds. In other words, if you played the game you might pick up on the minor references, but you don’t need to have any knowledge of the game to follow the movie. Of course, with a narrative this ridiculous and over the top, following the plot is never an issue whatsoever. This one is big, loud, and dumb, but it is also quite fun at times and has some darker threads than expected. This includes some bursts of rather vivid violence, against both humans and the beasts, though most of this is either brief or comeuppance for the villains. But if you’re here for a brisk, light family movie, Rampage is a little darker than that at times. The narrative is loaded with silliness and plot holes, but the pace is on point and there’s a nice blend of humor and action, so it does offer solid fun in most scenes. If you’re a fan of The Rock, then you’ll get more out of this than if not, however. This is straight forward, turn your brain off popcorn action, but I found it to be a solid ride.
As I mentioned, your feelings on The Rock will likely dictate how much you enjoy Rampage, as he is the central presence throughout. So if you’re not into his style of humor and making ridiculous faces, then you might not get as much fun out it as someone who loves his work. Although I don’t consider myself a fan of his movies, I think he is a decent choice for the lead here, as it is a simple, undemanding role that he fits into well. He has the look to pull off the more action driven scenes and the charisma for the humor, so his performance is solid. Naomie Harris and P.J. Byrne provide good backup roles for the good guys, but Malin Akerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Joe Manganiello, and Jake Lacy are more fun as the shadier characters involved, as we gotta have fun villains, right? The action scenes are mostly big set pieces and most work well, or are at least fun on a spectacle level. The visual effects for George are terrific, but the rest of the CGI is less than ideal. Some scenes look downright atrocious and laughable, but hey, this is based on a video game, right? While Rampage is inconsistent and paper thin, it has some good action sequences, a colorful cast, and it is just fun to watch huge monsters demolish cities sometimes, right?