Rampage Review

“… did the impossible and made a movie about giant creatures fighting each other boring.”

Yesterday I braved the freak ice storm Canada has been suffering from to see Rampage; it was a mistake. Nothing bad happened on my way to or from the theatre, but seeing Rampage was the mistake. Rampage is what happens when a studio realizes they have the rights to an old obscure video game with no plot whatsoever, and they go “Hey, I wonder if The Rock is free?”. The movie follows The Rock as his friend, The Gorilla, finds an alien virus that makes him really big and really mean. It turns out that two other animals, a wolf and a crocodile, have also found this virus, and they all fight in a city. With a plot like that what could go wrong? Well, let’s find out.

In a movie where The Rock stars alongside a bunch of giant fighting animals, the absolute last thing you would think is that it runs the risk of being boring. But that’s exactly what Rampage was. Rampage suffers from a common problem in ‘B movies’, knowing you’re dumb and presenting a tongue-in-cheek product, but not wanting to go ‘full dumb’ because then you’d feel as though you’re wasting your life working on a worthless dumb Hollywood blockbuster. I understand that these filmmakers need to be able to point to any movie they make and say “I’m proud to have worked on this”, but they also need to realize that if your trailer consists of giant animals fighting one another the audience doesn’t expect anything other than that in the movie. Now I’m going to cut to the chase here and say that the fight scenes in Rampage were amazing. They were fun, they were well choreographed, well shot, and looked pretty good. The problem is, for either budgetary reasons or pride, it was decided that the fight scenes should not be the focus of the movie. Instead what we got was The Rock “acting” (really just acting like The Rock) concerned for his giant gorilla friend, and a lot of unnecessary backstory.

That’s kind of what tipped me off to how boring Rampage was going to be: when the beginning of the move concerned itself with explaining shit. I don’t care how the gorilla gets big, I just want to see it destroy stuff. And the worst part is none of the actual “movie” parts were any good. The writing was abysmal and the acting was atrocious. I mean, I think the acing was atrocious. The characters were written as though they were made of cardboard and any line of humour felt so forced it was like pulling teeth; so maybe the performances were spot-on? I will say the action was the best part of the movie, as I expected it to be, and the fight scenes are the reason I give this movie anything above a failing grade. I will admit that the CGI was a mixed bag, the creatures themselves looking phenomenal but then that greatness fading away whenever they interacted with a real-life object, but when the creatures were fighting I was all for it.

Overall Rampage did the impossible and made a movie about giant creatures fighting each other boring. The writing was terrible, the performances were weak, and the movie had a weird fixation on always wanting to ground everything in reality. It’s a movie about giant animals fighting to the death. It’s not realistic.

I give Rampage a D

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