Why’s everyone always tryin’ to destroy my hometown?!?
In Rampage, three ginormous mutant creatures utterly eviscerate Chicago — and it’s an even worse beating than The Windy City took in Transformers, The Dark Knight, Batman vs. Superman and countless other films. But this time we have Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on our side — he plays Davis Okoye, a San Diego Zoo based primatologist with hardcore military experience … and the kind of guy you definitely want around in an emergency. When three canisters holding a dangerous pathogen fall from space and one of them affects Davis’s BFF George (an albino silverback gorilla Davis rescued from poachers), everyone is horrified and caught tragically off-guard when the pathogen George inhales makes him start (and never stop) growing, and all but erases his once fun-loving personality.
Unfortunately for the United States, a wolf in Montana and a crocodile in the Everglades were near the other canisters, balloon to gargantuan proportions and — along with George —make their way to Chicago to destroy a sonar beacon that’s emitting from the Sears Tower (it’ll never be “Willis Tower” to me) and driving them mad. The brother-sister duo (Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy) that heads up the “gene editing” company Energyne, which created the mutant-causing pathogen in the first place, thought that if they lured the beasts to their Chicago headquarters, then the US military would destroy them and Energyne would still be able to harvest the dead creatures’ DNA.
Spoiler alert: that is not what happens.
Since Davis cares deeply about George and wants to try and find an antidote that will return the gorilla to his former self, he agrees to team up with an ex-employee of Energyne — Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris from Moonlight) — and head to Chicago to search the company’s labs and try to head off the Army dropping the “mother of all bombs” on the city before civilians have been fully evacuated. But before they get too far, Jeffrey Dean Morgan steps in as Negan—er, I mean, Harvey Russell, a mysterious government agent who sometimes stifles but sometimes helps Davis and Kate’s efforts.
(Suddenly I feel like I’ve covered way too many plot details for a movie that’s based on a little-known ‘80s arcade game about mutant creatures smashing stuff.)
So what’s the bottom line? Rampage is exactly what you think it’s going to be — no more and no less. The Rock has enough charm to hold all of the silliness together and make up for how idiotic the “villains” are (I’m not talking about the beasts… I’m talking about the Energyne executives). So his fans will likely enjoy the film, as will anyone who generally seeks out movies where lots of stuff gets destroyed — think San Andreas (which Rampage director Brad Peyton also helmed … and which also starred Johnson), 2012, Twister or Deep Impact.
I fall into the former category but not the latter, and I still had a fun time watching Rampage. But thanks to its spectacular CGI, I had to check to make sure my city was still standing when I left the theater!