Rampage

When the posters and trailers arrived featuring The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) and a HUGE albino gorilla, I knew exactly what to expect; however, the real question was: would it be the good or bad end of the scale?

What is it about?

Obviously, a one of a kind albino gorilla, is best friends with Dwayne Johnson because why wouldn’t he be. Anyway, Rampage is loosely based on the arcade video game of the same title, where the aim is to destroy a city whilst playing as one of the three mutant animals. Although this film has the three main monsters and they do essentially lay waste to a city (sorry if that’s a spoiler,) the film follows much more than that throughout it’s development. It was also about: friendship, deceit and how quickly relationships can be formed in times of adversity.

What did I think?

The CGI and visual effects were very impressive and meant that although in no way did I think they were real, they were about as real as it got for a giant: crocodile, gorilla and wolf. If you want piece of cinema to lose yourself in it’s stupidity then this definitely fits the bill. It is complete nonsense with: monsters getting thrown at buildings, massive guns and explosions happening all over the place, Dwayne Johnson and a completely ridiculous story line. So, if that’s what you’re after then this is the film for you.

A couple of years ago, I can imagine this having been my favourite film; however, as I have increased my film viewing dossier, I look for something other than big, dumb, fun when I go to the cinema. I want: something beautiful to look at (good cinematography;) with a good story-line; interesting character arcs and, most importantly for me, direct emotional engagement. Unfortunately, in my opinion, this film fell down at a number of these stages:

  1. Good cinematography: Sure, the effects were superb but there wasn’t exactly much variety. The camera was almost always at a: long pan shot to show general destruction or right up close to show individual or group character development.
  2. A good storyline: The story line was quite ridiculous but when you compare it to other similar films that have been released recently, such as Pacific Rim: Uprising, it suddenly looks masterful as at least it makes sense. However, that by no means meant that I thought it was good.
  3. Interesting character arcs: Dwayne Johnson was very much himself throughout the film. That is not necessarily a criticism, as I think most of the charisma in this comes from him; nevertheless, it would have been nice to see even subtle changes that suggest he has been changed by any of the events in a long term way. I think the character in which we at least see some of this implied is Naomie Harris’ (known best for her role last year as Paula in Moonlight.)
  4. Direct emotional engagement: I must say, I was more emotionally engaged in this film than I imagined I would be. When certain events happened, I was sad and this suggests that I did empathise with each of the characters’ plights on an emotional level. Unfortunately, I don’t think this was sustained enough throughout to make it a complete positive.

This film was a nice way to spend an evening with my family and amused me throughout it’s running time. It wasn’t good or even completely absorbing and enjoyable but it was okay and worked as a bit of nonsense drama. Although it seems harsh to run it through the criteria mentioned above; I go through the same process to come to a rating after every film and this was no different.

My Rating- 4/10 (Alright)

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