Monday, April 16, 2018

Movie Review: Rampage

Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from "Rampage", after seeing the trailer for the first time I thought of it as simply another "monsters wrecking havoc in the city" kind of movie. Although I did like the "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" by The Smashing Pumpkins insert in the trailer. 

Then the husband told me about the movie's interesting history, okay, so turns out "Rampage" is actually based on a 1980's video game. In fact, we saw an actual Rampage arcade in one of the scenes in the movie. You might want to keep a look out for that cameo. 

So there I was, going in the cinema expecting the action, the explosions and the "monsters wrecking havoc in the city" as I mentioned earlier, nothing new really but I was pleasantly surprised to see that they tried to make the movie different from the other "monster movies" out there by injecting a bit of heart and humor into the story.  

The heart - the beautiful connection between Dwayne Johnson's Davis Okoye, a primatologist at the San Diego wildlife reserve and George, an albino gorilla. The CG is amazing, you can see the emotions in George's face and what endears you to him, is his child-like demeanor, well at least that's how it was for me. The gorilla got me with his big baby blues and his wicked sense of humor. 

Humor - George is pretty much it. :)  

Trouble brews when a rogue experiment releases dangerous pathogens which infects George and in no time, increases in size and strength at a very alarming rate. The "other" government agency swoops in, led by a swaggering Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who I just loved seeing on the big screen, been a big fan since his Denny days on Grey's Anatomy) who plays agent Harvey Russell. 

George is boarded onto a plane, much to Davis' objections, at this point, they have already been joined by Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomi Harris), a genetic engineer, who may be able to find a cure for George. 

Plane falls from the sky, a crazed George escapes and a giant wolf is running around wrecking havoc on his own as well. Interesting fact, Wreck-It-Ralph is named after the wolf, as they both you know wreck buildings and stuff. 

George and Ralph, seem to be heading toward the city of Chicago, where thousands of people are in danger, meanwhile, a creature in the water seems to be aggressively making its way towards the city as well.    

If you blink, you might miss it but there is a bit of a social commentary in the film as it reveals that Davis, who was also part of an anti-poaching unit saved George as a baby from poachers, who were killing his mother as baby George hid under a truck. Its just one scene but it says so much about how human nature can be so dark and driven by greed. Not exactly a shining moment for humanity and probably explains why Davis is not a fan of other people as well. Animals on the other hand, just go about their days, living each day, trying to survive and here we are playing god with genetic engineering (genetic editing) for financial gain, killing and poaching animals, again for financial gain and I can go on and on with how being part of the human race just makes you want to hide under a rock (pun intended).   

While the not-so nice nature of human beings is being represented in the film through the cold and cruel Claire Wyden (Maline Akerman, in a non romantic comedy role, for a change) as the CEO of Energyne, who is responsible for creating the pathogen which has caused these creatures to become the giant monsters that they have become. There is still some hope for human kind through of course Davis, Kate and some surprise alliances along the way. 

Director Brad Peyton knows his audience and knows what he wants to deliver-and deliver he does! "Rampage" is an action packed battle with the biggest and baddest experiments gone wrong you can imagine, making the city as their playground and leaving the buildings like a block of toys, scattered amidst the devastating destruction in a good old pop-corn, cinema entertainment experience, the only kind that monsters in the city can bring.  

I was a bit dissapointed and confused of the movie's rating of PG and having that much violence, until now I'm not sure at what age I would let my son Luke watch the film. He's still at 8 months now, so I still have time to think about it. 

I also thought that Akerman's Wyden had a rather distasteful end. I mean, yeah she was mean and probably deserved but it just didn't sit well with me.  

6 out of 10, at the end of the day, "Rampage" is the action, CG intense film that it promises to be and it delivers, with a few surprises here and there and while we expect Dwayne Johnson  to bring the entire movie on top of his ridiculously well sculpted biceps, its George who is the star, he not only steals the show but your heart as well.  

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