A Rampage of CGI, Comedy, and Over The Top Moments

Rampage

 

`           Video game movies have a steady record of failing to meet expectations placed on them by the gaming community.  Yet this year alone, two video game franchises have been unleashed on the screen with decent success and quality.  Perhaps, this is the start of a video game movie renaissance, but in the world of movie magic, you never know what lies behind the community.  So naturally I’m back in the trenches to provide to you another review as I cover:

 

Movie: Rampage

Director:

Brad Peyton

 

 

Writers:

Ryan Engle and(Carlton Cuse

 

Stars:

Dwayne Johnson,  Naomie Harris,  Malin Akerman

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Acting:  In a movie about giant monsters going on a rampage, it’s up to the actors to try and put on a performance to make us believe they are nearly destroyed by these artificial creations. Fortunately, the Rock is able to deliver his magic again, not the best performance mind you, but believable enough to craft a relationship with the artificial monkey.  Naomie Harris isn’t too bad either, capable of expressing fear at the possible end of the world, but not so much past those components.  Akerman has the vicious corporate tyrant face down, and the ice-cold stare of a woman perturbed with the hand fate dealt in her science experience, though flops at the end to maintain that edge.  Finally, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a champion at bringing comedic spark to the mix, a sarcastic modern day cowboy whose mannerism and wide smile will craft a more charming version of Negan.

 

The Comedy:  With Dwayne Johnson, you can always expect the film to have some comedy, and no surprise…Rampage delivers on this.  Sure, the concept of the movie itself is hilarious enough, and even the acting/writing can be unintentionally comedic to leave you chuckling.  However, the intended comedy comes primarily from the one liners packed into Johnson and Morgan’s lines. Their rapier delivery is sharp, well-timed, and has just enough emphasis to maximize the sting these insults and lines bring.  Throw in some of the vaudeville with George the CGI monkey that is cute, yet edgy, and you get some surprising laughs that you might not be expecting.

 

The Graphics/Special Effects:  No surprise, a movie about CGI behemoths needs good computer work and Rampage delivers on these hand over fist.  Smooth animation, well-crafted realism, and some originality help bring these monsters to life on the big screen in a way that leave many with mouths agape.  These titans of terror, have fantastic sound editing to go along with their visual prowess that brings everything together to unleash the full might of these beasts.  As for the carnage itself, the special effects department delivers on this as well, combining pyrotechnics and manmade visuals to craft their visual representation of the classic arcade game.  The effects themselves pay much homage to the platform they were built upon and in the last 40 minutes of the film, one will feel as if they have dived into that classic game.

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Cheesiness: Despite the concept itself being a major stretch, the movie had hopes for making the most out of it.  They did to a level, but there were a lot of components that were still too ridiculous or forced to bare. Some of this includes the way the dialogue was delivered, the random plot elements thrown in, and even some of the chaos itself dropped a little over the top for me and my friends. And because of this stretch of the imagination, other components suffer such as the story, speaking of which.

 

The Story: Okay it’s based on a video game that had thread thin plot to being with, but that’s no excuse to improve upon things in this day and age.  Improvements were made to an extent, but the story lacks a lot of sustenance that could have helped craft a more engaging story.  The character background information is minimal at best, built enough to provide introductions and some sense of internal conflict, but lacking in other departments to really make dynamic characters to grasp onto. Even worse, the pace of the movie is off, emphasizing how weak the story is at times and making it drag as it attempts to build up tension for the climax at the end when the hammer finally drops.  Had these elements been tinkered with, perhaps we would have been more engrossed in the movie.

 

More Action:  You’ve stuck it out through the ridiculous plot, been teased by the small, and often pointless skirmishes, and you’ve gotten through the lacking characters.  Now it’s time for the epic battle, right?  Wrong.  Rampage’s end game starts out so promising as the video game spectacle of army vs. beast unfolds in epic quality with the theater rattling in high amplitude sound.  Then it kind of fizzles out, focusing on the human component for nearly fifteen minutes with no sign of the beasts.  Had this part been more thought out, intricate, and exciting itself this would have worked, but since this wasn’t the case it failed.  When the beasts begin battling each other, this too needed more thought put into it to bring some originality and creativity to the battling behemoths.  Given all the prep work for it, my friends and I were disappointed to not have more gusto behind this clash of the titans.

 

The VERDICT: Rampage turned out better than I had expected, but the film still had much more to bring to the table to deliver on the expected promise of action.  Comedy, acting and graphics were spot on in this big budget special effects piece, however they needed to use this budget to add more to the grand bout of carnage and fury.  A lackluster story that succumbs to cheesiness and mundane tactics, Rampage needed to dig deeper to unlock the primitive energy locked up within.  Perhaps a sequel will improve upon it and they will put more action into the next installment, but for now it’s an okay starting point.  Should you see it in theaters?  For the effects lone yes, but this guy recommends holding out for some other spectacles coming in the near future.

 

My scores are:

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 7.5

Movie Overall:  6.0

 

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