Video game movies seem are cursed it seems. But once in awhile, you get those diamonds in the rough. Street Fighter (1994) and Mortal Kombat (1995) come to mind. But other than that they're usually decent but sadly but forgettable stuff (aka a certain movie I just saw a few weeks ago. No wait I remember that movie still-- I mean this one) to so bad it's entertaining to Resident Evil movie franchise to-- OH DEAR GOD WHAT THE HELL? HOW DOES UWE BOLL GET THESE VIDEO GAME LICENSES!?
Rampage starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnston basically is that damn diamond. It knows what the material it's handling and just revels in it. The movie isn't expecting some higher level of filmmaking. It knows what you want: giant monsters destroying shit and this is the plot to make all of that stuff happen. It just so happens that this film has the charismatic talents of the Rock to anchor the movie.
That and Jeffery Dean Morgan just steals the damn show as a government spook. Other than the Rock, Morgan just gets the best lines in the movie and delivers it with just so much gusto. There were a bunch times both just had me chuckling like mad at the fiery line banter the two had with one another.
Also in a mini-Watchmen reunion, Malin Åkerman does a stellar job playing the main antagonist who orchestrates the events of how three monsters end up ravaging Chicago. She equally just chews the scenery like no one's business, and equally gets the best comeuppance in a long time when it comes to villains in film. Like literally both her and her partner just get the perfect justly ends.
If anything after these three that's basically it on the humans. Naomie Harris as the geneticist who is assisting the Rock's character in stopping these creatures isn't bad. But, compared to the other three. She just doesn't chew it up as they do, save for a few times. The rest of the human cast in this movie are just there and before you know it are gone. Like literally, there's a subplot involving one character at the beginning of the film that is just utterly dropped.
Because really, the movie knows what we're all here: the giant monsters. It knows what you want to see: them doing glorious destruction and utter chaos and damn does this movie deliver that in spades. Each monster gets their moment, and George the Albino Ape is a fantastic character and has some Congo-like moments with the Rock's character. That said-- fuck the ape Lizzy was the scene stealer. And the movie even knows that too giving her the best entrance of the three. But that's not to say, Ralph, the Wolf doesn't get a small role. Nope, all three monsters get their equal due.
The other interesting thing I find about the film was just like last year's Kong: Skull Islan, this movie is dark as fuck, perhaps more so. We see the usual people getting eaten. But not only that, people get crushed, stomped, impaled, and get little glimpses of their remains. This movie feels like it's bordering on a freaking R-Rating at times with its violence, and what it gets away with. Then again, this movie is based on giant monsters destroying tall buildings, military weapons, and eating people.
That said, I can get why people would hate this film. There a plot holes aplenty. But you know what? Fuck it. I enjoyed this film. The movie knew what it was and relished in the cheese and so did I. Amusingly, this movie feels like a hybrid of previous mentioned Congo (you know the movie with bad-ass Laura Linney, equally bad ass Ernie Hudson, and a sign-language ape battling killer apes), 1997's Godzilla (done right), and late 90s Paul Thomas Anderson resulting in an amusingly fun time at the cinema.
Yes, this movie is dumb as hell. Yes, the premise is flimsy. But the movie freaking knows it. It knows what you want and it delivers on that. Giant Monsters running amok with the Rock having to stop it. What more were you expecting with this film?! Giant monsters show up and destroy shit. Everything else is just chocolate sprinkles of fun. So just enjoy the fact that this is the THIRD kaiju movie in a month we've gotten. Three kaiju movies in a month. That's a miracle of American cinema. And I feel like the only way to end this review is sum it all up with this little video:
Yep. That perfectly sums up this film for me in a nutshell.
4 out of 5