Can a good movie be made based on a video game?
Well, maybe not, but the Rock is trying again with Rampage.
At first glance, Rampage doesn’t seem like something that could spawn a movie. It doesn’t really have a plot. The player plays as one of three giant monsters who earn points from wrecking a city and not being killed by all the very small men with guns. They also may be able to beat each other up. I don’t recall. I haven’t played it since the 80s. There was a gorilla named George, a wolfman named Ralph, and a lizard named Lizzie. When they “died,” they turned into regular-sized people.
Was there more to later versions? I have no idea.
But what about this movie? Well, after a somewhat intense opening on a space station for a PG-13-rated movie (seriously, think twice before taking any sensitive kids to this one), we arrive on Earth as three canisters land near different animals, spray them with a substance that apparently causes instant mutations into giant size and worse, and off we go with a big albino ape named George, a rather freaky-looking wolf named Ralph by the Internet, and an unnamed really big crocodile. George, at least, is actually a rather gentle soul under normal circumstances, and he has an advocate in the form of former military/former anti-poaching agent/primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson). That’s good, because Okoye, who prefers animals to people, will need some help from disgraced geneticist Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) and cowboy government agent Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). On the other side are the brother and sister pair who run the corrupt corporation that invented the monster-making stuff in the first place, Claire (Jimmy fave Malin Ackerman) and Brett Wyden (Jake Lacy). Oh, Joe Manganiello is in there too as a military type, but he isn’t in the movie very long.
As it is, this movie is mostly fun if you don’t stop to think about it for more than a minute. It’s stupid, but it was never going to be any more than stupid. As it is, the movie moves along fairly quickly. It isn’t overly long, and the monster fight scenes work for the most part. True, George the ape is inclined to making R-rated hand gestures, but again, there’s a lot of violence in this movie that might be too much for some kids, and this is a PG-13 rated movie starring Dwayne Johnson…is it perhaps supposed to be a family film? Well, I was entertained, and that was with the blatantly stupid science that almost certainly doesn’t work. Again, don’t think too hard about this, and if you go wanting to see a giant-monsters-breaking-stuff movie, well, it does a much better job than Pacific Rim: Uprising. If you’re fine with stupid, this one should work. Eight out of ten conveniently-placed helicopters.