Let me preface this review by saying that I have no nostalgic ties to Rampage, at all. Sure I played the arcade game when I was younger and maybe a little bit of Rampage Ultimate Destruction. However, it never left that much of an impression on me outside of it being simple fun. So when I heard that Warner Bros. were making a feature length film based off of it my initial reaction to it was “…Really? Of all the games you could have picked you picked THAT?”. I figured I might as well go see it because hey, it’ll be just a big dumb Hollywood monster film, nothing too special but it’ll be fun! After seeing it however, I was left with a lot of conflicting emotions about it.
Now I will start by saying that I think this movie is a lot of fun. Many of the actors do a great job with their performances, The Rock especially (though let’s be real that should be expected at this point. Speaking of The Rock actually his characters relationship with the main monster, George the gorilla, is very well written and is probably one of the stronger aspects of the movie. Another thing this movie does well is that most of the action scenes are quite entertaining and even had quite a bit of tension to them. The visual effects on George, Ralph, and Lizzie by themselves looked quite good (notice how I said “by themselves. We’ll get to that.). Another thing I’ll give the film credit for is that it’s surprisingly violent and morbid for a film being marketed to a general audience. There are a lot of people getting eaten, decapitations, and you even see the inside of a characters dismembered corpse for a split second when The Rocks character, Davis Okoye finds them. A lot of the violence has a pretty dark tone to it and it’s actually kind of interesting. All of these factors are good, but the film is FAR from perfect and a lot of the flaws do hold it back from being something much more enjoyable than what it is.
The first misstep is the overall tone of the film. About 60% of it is light hearted and fun with a touch of dark humor while the other 40% is your standard “We gotta save the city, the military is going to destroy it if we don’t make them stop” fare. It’s not specifically “bad” but it does lead to a lot of inconsistencies with characters and the overall story. Another weak aspect is that even though the actors do a great job with what they’re given, many of the characters are very boring and forgettable. Not to mention some of them tend to overact to such a degree that it comes off as overly comical in scenes that don’t really need it. The main villains, played by Malin Åkerman and Jack Lacy respectably, are played up to such a degree that it feels like they’re from a Saturday morning cartoon rather than a big Hollywood action movie. However the biggest issue that this movie had in my opinion were its visual effects. Not necessarily with how they looked, but how they were integrated with the live actors.
In this film there are multiple scenes were The Rock is talking with George or is having physical interactions with him and at no point do they even come close to looking like they’re actually together. There are parts where he’s touching his fur and Georges model barely even reacts to it. There are also scenes when The Rock is in the middle of a destroyed part of Chicago and you can TELL he was green screened in most of the shots, the way he’s lit doesn’t match up with many parts of the background at all. Another scene I wanted to bring up was when a group of mercenaries were infiltrating a forest to look for Ralph and a group of deer go by them and it looks so hilariously fake that it actually stuck with me throughout the entirety of the movie.
Now are most of these complaints nitpicks? Absolutely, but they’re still problems that kind of stopped me from enjoying this movie more than I did. However if this is the kind of stuff that doesn’t bother you then you’re more than likely going t have a blast with Rampage. Out of a lot of video game movies I’ve seen I would say that it’s probably one of the more entertaining ones that has ever been released. If you’re looking for a big dumb monster movie to enjoy with a few friends or even by yourself, then I fully recommend Rampage…MAYBE don’t take a child to see it though unless you’re sure they can handle film violence.