Call me crazy, but I actually liked this movie about a big strong barely evolved mutated ape and his best friend, an albino gorilla.
But, I digress.
This is Rampage, a movie based on a video game and, surprisingly enough, it’s actually pretty decent. Granted, it will not win awards… like, not even the bullpoop awards like an MTV Award or whatever is left of Channel Awesome is giving out these days, but Rampage is an enjoyable movie that flaunts its stupidity right in front of us like a peacock’s tail. It’s not ashamed, it’s not hiding them, and they’re going to mesmerize you with their bright colors and annoying mating call.
The movie stars The Rock and, yes, I know he wants to be called Dwayne Johnson now, but you don’t spend years jumping around a wrestling ring in tiny shorts and then expect us all to give you a reset when you want to be taken seriously… especially when you’re in a movie like Rampage that makes The Fast and the Furious movies look like Shakespeare and, just like The Fast and the Furious movies, Rampage takes something ludicrous and borderline insulting and makes it fun.
So, there’s this big ape, right? He works at the zoo with this gorilla. One night, the gorilla happens upon a genetic compound that fell out of the sky from a space station and begins to grow and grow and get meaner and meaner. As The Rock tries to figure out what is going on with his best friend, since The Rock hates other humans in this movie, a wolf in Wyoming and an alligator in Florida are exposed to the same chemical and all three are drawn to Chicago by a pair of unscrupulous and cartoony billionaires who want the chemical in the animals bodies for themselves.
I’m not sure how these two bad guys thought they might work this angle. I mean, seriously, the ape and the wolf bite and splat their way through SWAT teams, special forces, and full on military units and the two billionaires are all like, “Hey, let’s call them to Chicago and get the chemical from their bodies. I’m sure it’ll all work out.”
Jeffery Dean Morgan is in this and he’s still gnashing the scenery with the huge set of choppers he developed playing Negan on The Walking Dead because he’s pretty much playing the same part again but, you know… that’s okay. He’s having a good time and so, I had a good time. I could watch Jeffery Dean Morgan go to Disneyland and, if he enjoyed it, it would be my favorite movie of the year…. just an extreme closeup of Jeffery Dean Morgan’s face as he is having fun. It would win best picture.
Folks, I’ll be honest with you… Rampage is not a movie that will challenge you or surprise you. It is a silly movie with characters doing and saying stupid things and a plot that makes no sense. That being said, as I stated earlier, Rampage, paradoxically, is a lot of fun and, for a video game movie, being stupid but fun is actually a major win.
The Rock is his usual charismatic, charming, and likeable self and I was actually surprised by how well the ape was portrayed in the movie. He, arguably, had a better personality than 90 percent of the human cast.
The movie culminates just like you think it will with a large special effects extravaganza where skyscrapers are toppled, cities are destroyed, and we’re all just supposed to forget that George the Ape killed thousands of people at the end, but you know what? It worked…. By god, I was happy I went and saw it and my expectations, given that they were low, were met and exceeded.
It ain’t high art, but it ain’t pretending to be either. This is the very definition of a popcorn movie and it has a good time being what it is.