Rampage Translates Video Game into Fun Action-Comedy

FTC Statement: Reviewers are frequently provided by the publisher/production company with a copy of the material being reviewed.The opinions published are solely those of the respective reviewers and may not reflect the opinions of CriticalBlast.com or its management.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. (This is a legal requirement, as apparently some sites advertise for Amazon for free. Yes, that's sarcasm.)

Rampage Blu-ray

It's difficult to translate a videogame into a film. It's tempting, sure, and the good games provide a lot of inspiration. But ultimately, what happens in the game is brief, and hard to extrapolate into a 2-hour film without throwing in a lot of supposition and side plots.

So that's what directors do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

And sometimes even if it doesn't "work" it's still a whole lot of fun!

RAMPAGE is the latest collaboration between Director BRAD PEYTON and actor DWAYNE JOHNSON. The two have worked together on JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND and, more recently, SAN ANDREAS. Johnson portrays Davis Okoye, a primatologist at the San Diego Zoo with a military background. His pet project is George, an albino gorilla whom he saved from poachers and taught to sign.

But George begins to change when a secret satellite-based experiment goes awry, causing canisters of genetic mutagen to fall to Earth, each one affecting a different animal and rewriting their genes to incorporate traits from other species. As a result, we get a giant wolf with traits of flying squirrel and porcupine, an alligator that dwarfs Godzilla, and a gorilla -- George -- who gives Mighty Joe Young a run for his money. But more than just their size is changed -- the mutagen also creates an unquenchable rage in them, sending all the animals on a (wait for it) rampage.

The only one who knows what's happening is the disgraced Dr. Kate Caldwell (MOWGLI's NAOMIE HARRIS), who recognizes what is happening to the creatures, because she helped develop the technology. She was fired from the Evil Corporation that hired her, however, so that they could discredit her and then weaponize the process. The company is run by siblings, the callous Claire Wyden (MALIN AKERMAN, WATCHMEN) and her simpering brother, Brett (JAKE LACY).

Kate convinces Davis that the Wydens have a process to cure George, who has now taken off to follow a sonic signal the Wydens have set off to attract all the affected beasts straight into the heart of downtown Chicago. The two form an uneasy alliance with a shady government agent, Harvey Russell (JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN, summoning his best Billy Bob Thornton), and together the three try to save Chicago from total destruction by the three monsters and the United States Army.

If you're looking for plot consistency, this isn't the place to come. If you're looking for effects of mass destruction, American kaiju, and a wise-cracking unstoppable hero, then get an extra large bucket for the popcorn, because that's exactly what RAMPAGE is. The villains are comically over-the-top in both their aspects, and the interactions between Davis and George are hilarious, as George has a twisted (and sometimes crude) sense of humor.

If you've played the game, then you'll recognize the scenes that are hat-tips, right down to punching through the sides of buildings and extracting tasty people. There's even a console of the game briefly spotted in the Wyden boardroom!

So pop a quarter into the slot, grab the joystick, and ride this one out to the end. When it's over, you'll want to watch it again.

4.0 / 5.0