It’s easy to understand the logic behind greenlighting a movie like RAMPAGE. Just take the biggest action star in the world and put him a movie with giant monsters that fight each other and destroy cities. On the surface, that’s pretty much what RAMPAGE is; a monster movie starring The Rock. But the film falls flat on many levels and audiences are inevitably wanting a little more. That said, the film does deliver in the final act and audiences hoping to get some monster on monster action just have to be patient until the film gets there.
Davis (Johnson) is a former military operative turned primatologist that spends his time caring for animals, most notably George the gorilla. But when a science experiment in space goes wrong, four mysterious canisters filled with toxic gas fall to earth and infect random animals. The infection causes enormous growth and random mutations. Determined to save his friend, Davis teams with scientist Kate (Harris) and government agent Harvey (Morgan) to stop the evil Claire from using the animals as weapons.
There are a couple of simple mistakes the filmmakers made the prevented the movie from being as enjoyable as it should have been. The first is with the basic plot of George being the “good” monster and the other three monsters being the “bad” ones. That creates a very King-Kongy vibe to the film where the poor, abused ape has to prove his love for his human and ward off evil monsters. In fact, the whole movie felt like a KING KONG rip-off at times and it would have worked a little better if it had been The Rock versus the monsters. At least that would have given us something somewhat different.
The other major problem with the film was with the villains and the overall tone of the film. The entire movie takes itself too seriously at times, often forgetting that the basic plot is giant animals fighting each other. But the one constant was the confusing tone of the villains played by Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy. When the camera was on them, they acted as if they were cartoon villains, harking back memories of Boris and Natasha from the ‘Rocky and Bullwinkle’ cartoon series. That would have been fine if the rest of the movie was more lighthearted and cartoony, but it was not. Instead, the rest of the movie was told more straight-laced and the scenes with the villains felt more like a vaudeville performance.
The fact that RAMPAGE is watchable at all is a credit to Dwayne Johnson. He delivers a certain level of quality entertainment in all of his films, even if the overall film doesn’t always work. RAMPAGE is a good example in that it had a lot of overarching problems that prevented it from being as good as it could have been, but Johnson wasn’t one of them. It feels weird even thinking this, but RAMPAGE probably needed a little more time in development; with a better story and a little less cheese, this could have been the start of a decent franchise.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: RAMPAGE is another case of an upscale transfer that only makes slight improvements over the Blu-ray. That’s not necessarily a knock on the UHD, but rather a compliment to the great looking Blu-ray. As expected, closeups and backgrounds get a touch more detail and the HDR adds some color depth to clothing and other textures.
Audio: The same Dolby Atmos from the Blu-ray is included here, making the question of upgrading even murkier. It’s a great track and definitely puts the overhead and surround channels to work.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no 4K exclusive special features, but it does come with a Blu-ray of the film, which has the following special features:
Featurettes: Five total featurettes, the longest of which is about 12 minutes long. I’m lumping them together because they’re all very brief and stick to high level material. The cast and crew talk about the original game in one and the others focus on the effects and the end battle scene.
Deleted Scenes (10:10)