Dwayne Johnson is about to meet his match in this adaptation of the Midway video game that comes with some major twists that only enhance the action.
Davis Okoye is a former U.S. Special Forces operative turned primatologist and anti-poaching unit head who has been taking care of a rare albino gorilla named George. The two are like best friends with the ability to communicate through sign language. However, one night is about to change both their lives forever when George discovers a canister that emits a green gas. The gas causes George to begin growing rapidly and becoming more aggressive.
Things get worse when it has been revealed that there have been two more canisters and both a wolf and a crocodile have begun to experience the same things as George. When George is captured, his aggressive nature causes him to escape. Davis learns from Dr. Kate Caldwell that Energyne, the company she once worked for, have developed the gas as part of an experiment known as Project Rampage. When George, the wolf Ralph, and the crocodile Lizzie begin to wreak havoc in Chicago, Davis and Kate must attempt to the do the impossible and stop the carnage while finding a way to save Davis’ friend George.
Based on the classic video game, this film adaptation takes a bit of a different twist from its source material. In the video game, three humans mutate into the gigantic creatures with the intent of destroying buildings. In today’s world, that idea may seem a bit farfetched so the idea of having a gas turn a gorilla, wolf, and crocodile into gigantic, aggressive creatures works here.
However, what works here with this film, written by Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal, and Adam Sztykiel, is that it is more than just a monster attack film. There is also a human emotional side to the film when it comes to the central characters of Davis, played by Dwayne Johnson, and George, played by motion capture artist Jason Liles. The two share a virtual brotherly bond only to be torn apart by the effects of the canister from Project Rampage. What also works is that while Davis intends to stop the creatures from destroying Chicago, he learns there could be a way to save his friend from getting blasted by the military.
Naomie Harris provides support as the scientist who helps Davis in his mission to stop the carnage and reveals some intricate details. Think of her character of Kate as the “brains” behind the “brawn” in terms of how to stop the animals. Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Harvey is a mysterious character who seems shady at first but proves to be someone who is only doing his job and eventually comes to his senses. Malin Åkerman makes for quite a mastermind who lets all her cronies, including her dimwitted brother, do her dirty work for her. If anything, it is the dimwit brother, played by Jake Lacy, who is perhaps the only bad thing about the film because he comes off as annoying. As for Joe Manganiello, don’t expect much for him as his role of Burke is nothing more than a one-scene cameo and with good reason.
Rampage provides plenty of action with slight comic gags despite the appearance of an annoying secondary character. However, the chemistry between Johnson and Liles as George is the heart of the film.
WFG RATING: A-
Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema present a Twisted Media and Seven Bucks Production in association with ASAP Entertainment, Flynn Picture Company, and Wrigley Pictures. Director: Brad Peyton. Producers: Beau Flynn, Hiram Garcia, John Rickard, and Brad Peyton. Writers: Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal, and Adam Szytkiel; based on the Midway video game. Cinematography: Jaron Presant. Editing: Bob Ducsay and Jim May.
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Åkerman, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jason Liles, P.J. Byrne, Matt Gerald, Jack Quaid, Breanne Hill.