Rampage movie review: Dwayne Johnson's monster film is unadulterated cinematic junk food served on biggest possible platter

Mihir Fadnavis

Apr 13, 2018 09:57:18 IST


Are you ready for the best worst adaptation of a video game since Mortal Kombat Annihilation? It will not hit you until you finish watching it and head back home but Rampage is the kind of cheerfully dumb film you, for obvious reasons, need in these cynical times. It is pure unadulterated cinematic junk food served on the biggest possible platter that is difficult not to enjoy.

 Rampage movie review: Dwayne Johnsons monster film is unadulterated cinematic junk food served on biggest possible platter

Dwayne Johnson in a sill from Rampage. YouTube

The film wastes no time in rendering the ludicrous – we are quickly introduced to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson who plays, hold your breath, of all people, a primatologist and an ex special forces personnel who works in a wildlife reserve. He is buddies with an albino gorilla named George who becomes the subject of a scientific experiment gone wrong and predictably proceeds to become King Kong destroying everyone in his path. It is up to Mr Primatologist Soldier Man to control George and also deal with other giant sized animals that seemed to have conveniently broken loose in the city.

The most enjoyable aspect of Rampage is how it does not even pretend to have a modicum of narrative smarts – the entire film is filled with scenes of rib-ticklingly hilarious exposition to explain what went wrong, as giant Kaiju beasts are knocking down buildings (and a few people in the way). This is very obviously '90s video game material and the reason why it kind of works is that it never takes itself too seriously, unlike other recent game adaptations. Director Brad Peyton previously made the also amazingly dumb San Andreas but there is a certain love for silliness that oozes through every awkwardly staged scene in this film; whether this was intentional remains moot but the final product is gratifying enough – even more so over a half a dozen glasses of your favourite drink. Why this script needed no less than four writers is a question you could find the answer to over much harder stuff than alcohol.   

But the big draw of Rampage is the action scenes – and Peyton delivers by the truckload here. The Kaijus here are incredibly well detailed and shot in bright sunlight. It all looks and feels like the trashy entertainment we deserve. The scope and scale is truly huge, and the inevitable climactic brawl between the hero turned villain turned hero ape and the ‘bad Kaiju’ is enjoyably puerile and epic.

And of course, there is The Rock showcasing what he does best – keeping an amiably straight face throughout the assault of infantile explosions happening on the screen. He is like the Jason Statham of blockbusters – giving you the impression of someone who genuinely believes in all the stupidity unfolding on the screen. It is a testament to his charisma (and also a cinema miracle) that the sign language conversation between his Primatologist Soldier Man character and the albino gorilla is far more nuanced and believable than any human interaction in the film. It is just another element that makes Rampage the moronic but undeniably entertaining 12-year-old child of Skull Island and Rise of the Apes; just watch it on a giant ass screen already.

(Also read: Graphing Dwayne Johnson's onscreen journey, from The Rock in WWE to becoming Hollywood's highest paid actor)

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Updated Date: Apr 13, 2018 09:57:18 IST