By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tries to save the world again AGAIN
in his latest movie, “Rampage.”
Directed by Brad Peyton (“San Andreas”), “Rampage” isn’t high-brow entertainment--then again neither was “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”—but it is big, dumb, fun which should come as no surprise since it’s also loosely based on the 1980s video arcade game of the same name.
Johnson—in all his charismatic glory--carries this brash, actioner on his broad, sculpted, shoulders. He stars as a special ops soldier-turned-primatologist named Davis Okoye. He works at the San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary and is the head of an anti-poaching unit.
Davis has an amazing rapport with the animals, particularly apes. Davis’ favorite one of the bunch is an incredibly smart albino silverback gorilla named George who isn’t played by motion-capture performance king Andy Serkis, but a very good Jason Liles (“The Clinic” and “The Conjuring 2”).
Davis rescued George from poachers when the ape was a baby. Over the years, they’ve bonded better than most people. Davis taught George sign language and the ape uses it extensively, especially when he wants to mess with Davis and flip him off or prank him with some other lewd gestures.
Their little lovefest, doesn’t last long. That’s because an experiment in outer space, known as “Project Rampage” which is under the guidance of scientist/astronaut, Dr. Kerry Atkins (Marley Shelton, TV’s “Rise”), goes absolutely bonkers.
Some of the canisters used in the CRISPR experiment contain a gene-altering formula that makes animals go crazy. A few of them have crash landed on Earth. Yikes!
Who would possibly want to create something like that?
Well, that would be Claire and Brett Wyden (Malin Akerman, TV’s “Billions” and Jake Lacy “Miss Sloane”), the siblings who work as corporate bioengineers. Their sinister plan involves selling animal DNA as weaponry.
Now George the ape, along with a red wolf named Ralph that can actually fly and a toothy, crocodile named Lizzie are infected with the experimental liquid. It causes all of them to grow into these giant killing machines.
To help avert their attack, Davis teams with a genetic scientist named Kate (a very good Naomie Harris, “Moonlight” and upcoming “Bond 25”) and they try to save George, but take down the other two creatures.
Much of the fun of “Rampage” is watching these monsters wreak havoc all over Chicago and San Diego. They topple buildings, smack helicopters from the sky and toss cars around like toys.
Even the ruggedly handsome, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (TV’s “The Walking Dead” and “The Good Wife”) nearly steals the show as Harvey Russell, a government agent cowboy with a big gun on his hip and a huge chip on his shoulder.
But “Rampage” is all about “The Rock.” The guy delivers some of the wittiest one-liners in the film with an ape and he looks like he’s having an absolute blast at every turn. You will too.
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Look At This Trailer For "RAMPAGE"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.