Brad Peyton’s latest film Rampage: Big Meets Bigger, starring Dwayne Johnson, makes for an enjoyable watch. While the story-line is not perfect and there are some flaws in the script, it is still fun to watch if you do not take it too seriously. It is loosely based on a video game of the same name and it does not fail to deliver in terms of epic mass destruction and action sequences.
Visually the film was decent. The special effects in the destruction of cityscapes, as well as the CGI for the gorilla George, were well done, (albeit nothing new). The relationship between George and Davis Okoye, (played by Dwayne Johnson), felt legitimate and there were moments between the two characters that were touching, and it felt as though throughout the film their friendship was tested in a multitude of ways. This created a relationship between George and Davis that was convincing. The use of sign language between the two characters further added to their bond and connection. Additionally, the flashback form is used for George’s character which adds a depth to the story and evokes sympathy in the audience as to how animals are treated in contemporary society, in regards to poaching. Thus there are deeper more profound elements to the film, but this is not the main focus and just serves to add a backstory to George’s character, making him more understandable.
One of the biggest faults with the movie I would argue is the villains who are not created with much depth. These characters ultimately fall flat because of this, whist their lack of development removes any genuine fear the audience may have of them. Their motives were also lacking and senseless, and the film would have benefited from characters that were more seriously portrayed and with a more fearful and ominous presence. Instead, they were presented in a laughable manner, (especially the character of Brett Wyden, played by Jake Lacy), which I did not find effective and found cringe-worthy at times.
The lack of development holds true for the rest of the film also, as I feel the main characters were not given enough of a backstory, or if so it was not delved into enough to make the film as compelling as it could have been. At times the plot is a slightly nonsensical and their intentions for doing certain things are again unclear or unjustified, as I found to be the case with Naomie Harris’ character Dr. Kate Caldwell. Moreover, the protagonist Davis Okoye, is repeatedly throughout the film spoken of as being unsociable and ‘not a people person’, yet this for me was not illustrated convincingly, and instead served as a running joke. The insinuation that the primatologist Davis is solely an animal lover and therefore has difficulties communicating with other people I found to be unjustified. Although I understand why they attempted to exaggerate this aspect of his character, as it is used to create an arch for the character that shows he can, throughout the course of the film, flourish into a being that does not shun human connection.
If you are looking for an amusing blockbuster, with some cool action sequences then Rampage: Big Meets Bigger is definitely worth seeing. The film is ludicrous at times, but it was never trying to be anything else.