Reviews Rampage 2018 I know that movies based on computer games have a bad reputation (and deservedly so!), so I’m guessing that not many of today’s youth have ever participated in the joys of controlling George (a giant monkey), Lizzie (and giant lizard) and Ralph (my personal favourite character in the game – a giant wolf) as the trio inflict major damage on every American city back in the arcades in the eighties (and on the Master System in my bedroom during my teenage years!).
Maybe movies based on computer games don’t do well because they try too hard to concentrate on the story which they never seem to be able to, while appealing to the game’s ‘core audience’ who undoubtedly all have their own ideas regarding what a big-screen adaptation should be like. As I mentioned, ‘Rampage’ (the game) had a simple premise – choose one of three giant monsters and unleash hell on the human population of major cities. It was dumb, entertaining fun. And, perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t have a story – allowing the film-makers the creative freedom to adapt the best bits and add whatever they like without fear of annoying old gamers, such as myself.
Did I mention the game was dumb entertaining fun? Well… that basically sums up the movie, too. Dwayne Johnson stars as, er, the same Dwayne Johnson we’ve seen in almost all his action movies, as he cares for a giant ape in an animal preserve. Three mutating canisters falling from space later and he finds that his pet ape, George, is now not just a giant ape, but a GIANT ape! And then all hell breaks loose.
That’s about it in terms of plot. You’re not watching this for its deep emotional states, character arcs and hidden social and political meaning. You just want to see big monsters slug it out (and Dwayne Johnson, no doubt). And, if that’s all you’re looking for, you’ll leave the cinema totally satisfied. ‘Rampage’ doesn’t try to be clever – it just has fun being what it is – a cheesy, popcorn movie that you can just enjoy.
There are a couple of minor gripes I could mention. For people like me who knew the game well, I could lament on how certain elements of the creatures are ‘technically incorrect,’ but that would just be me nit-picking. About my only major problem was with a scene where a character is – in my opinion – critically-wounded and yet gets up seconds later and carries on as if nothing has happened! It just made me think of that Arnie gag in ‘The Last Action Hero’ where a gunshot is merely a ‘flesh wound’ in a film.
So, if that’s what you like then you won’t be disappointed. Plus it even has ‘Neegan’ from ‘The Walking Dead’ (okay, so not technically Neegan, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan doesn’t stray much from the man responsible for making a zombie apocalypse even more unbearable for Rick and his cronies.