Rampage (2018)

Director: Brad Peyton
Writer: Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal, Adam Sztykiel
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello, Marley Shelton, P.J. Byrne, Demetrius Grosse, Jack Quaid
Seen on: 11.5.2018

Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) works at the San Diego Zoo. In particular he is responsible for George, a white gorilla, whom he has taken care of for many years. But one night, something falls from the sky into George’s enclosure – and George suddenly changes, growing bigger and more aggressive. And he is not the only animal affected that way. Davis knows that he has to find a cure for what ails George – and soon before he destroys too much or is destroyed himself.

Rampage promises a film where Dwayne Johnson beats up giant animals and it absolutely delivers on that. If you feel that this sounds like a good concept, then Rampage is a must-see. Personally, I definitely enjoyed it.

Film poster showing Dwayne Johnson in front of a huge gorilla, wolf and crocodile, walking purposefully, gun in hand.

Rampage is the kind of film where you better not think too hard. Just switch your brain off, lean back and have fun. Definitely don’t think about the concept behind the film that firmly locates behavior in our genes, leaving practically no room for socialization or free will. You also shouldn’t bother examining the plot with regards to logical consistency. That way lies frustration.

Not using your brain will also mean that the flat, stereotypical characters and the flat dialogues will not bother you. Instead you’ll laugh at the obvious jokes and the one-liners and ignore any question of whether there is any depth to any of it because look, there is Dwayne Johnson punching a giant crocodile.

Dwayne Johnson and Naomie Harris in the film.

This might all sound negative, but I really don’t mean it that way. It’s clear that it is not a good film, objectively speaking (well, as objectively as value judgments like that can get anyway). But it doesn’t matter: it’s fun. Because the best thing about Rampage is that it knows absolutely who and what it is. It is self-aware enough to be charming about stuff that would otherwise grate.

There are some lengthy bits around the middle where the film loses a bit of its steam, but it never deflates so much that it stops being enjoyable (in the right frame of mind). It just keeps occupying that sweet spot between good and bad that so few films achieve.

A giant wolf growling at a normal-sized dog.

Summarizing: Big fun.

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