Rampage

In Cinemas Now

Big meets bigger.

Director Brad Peyton's San Andreas and Journey star Dwayne Johnson leads this sci-fi action adventure based on the classic 1980s video game.

Primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson) shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size. To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals. As these newly created alpha predators tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.

Trailers

Directed by

  • Brad Peyton('San Andreas', 'Journey 2: Mysterious Island', 'ZeD')

Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, Blockbuster

107mins

Rating: M Action violence and sustained threat

USA

This is a big, dumb monster movie far more cartoonish than most modern comic book movies, and more like silly, classic monster movies than the modern takes on King Kong and Godzilla. The evil corporation responsible for the mayhem is comically, ridiculously evil; the dialogue is campy in a '90s sort of a way and the narrative doesn’t much bother with logic or reason.

If that’s what you’re after and you keep your quality expectations low, Rampage is just fine.

The arcade game it’s based on was beloved for  massive monsters smashing down a city’s buildings, while a tiny human army pitifully tried to stop them. The film certainly delivers that – although it takes about an hour for the monsters to make it to the city. The climactic battle has some suitably epic moments that deliver on a pure spectacle level.

But the obvious requirement for all of the important bits to be made in a computer lessens the impact, as it pretty much always does. The CGI is really well done, but in several of the crucial action shots it clearly looks like CGI, failing to properly trick the human eye into believing.

Dwayne Johnson’s enormous charisma makes every scene he’s in enjoyable, Naomie Harris makes for an interesting sidekick and Joe Manganiello is a surprising highlight as a sexy mercenary. Jeffrey Dean Morgan goes a little too far with it all, making his Walking Dead character seem subtle by comparison, but most of the supporting cast here ham things up more than they should.

That’s all part of the stupendous, winking tone - which will probably piss a lot of viewers off, even though I quite enjoyed it. There are some lame jokes that shouldn’t have been left in there and it’s a shame about how some of the action doesn’t work, but the movie is just fine. Hell, compared to most videogame adaptations, it’s actually bloody good.

Guardian (UK)

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It is entertainingly over the top, although perhaps the CGI work isn’t quite out of the top drawer.

Empire (UK)

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As much fun as it has with the idea of animals stomping cities to rubble, it seems shy of going completely over the top, and it’s the poorer for it.

Time Out New York

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Morgan's performance is a gem of comic timing and audience-directed winks. He elevates a movie that’s mostly about watching stuff get stomped down.

IndieWire (USA)

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It’s not a movie for critics, that much is clear. The problem is that it’s not for anyone else, either.

Sydney Morning Herald

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It's King Kong with the mutation ideas from the rebooted Planet of the Apes, scaled up like Transformers and Godzilla so the creatures can trash whole cities.

Los Angeles Times

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Not that you would anyway, but it doesn't pay to think too hard about "Rampage." Sure, it could be improved (shorter would have helped), but it gets the job done in a more or less acceptable way.

New York Times

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As for Mr. Johnson, one hesitates to level a charge of "phoning it in" against him. He's a generally reliable performer, but I have to say it seems he had less fun here than he did in the recent Jumanji.

Variety (USA)

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Watching it, you can imagine the creative team straining to adequately acknowledge the source material, but they would have been better off starting from scratch.