“People will pretty much do anything they can to get what they want,” says primatologist David Okoye (Dwayne Johnson). “Let’s hope George doesn’t feel that way,” says scientist Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomi Harris). George is a giant albino gorilla, protected by Davis at San Diego’s Wildlife Sanctuary. But George is growing bigger and bigger, ever more aggressive, faster and faster, the result of exposure to one of three canisters of a dangerous genetic pathogen lost from a disintegrating corporate space laboratory. George is 10 feet tall, weighs in at 1,000 pounds and counting. That’s the setup for “Rampage,” a sci-fi monster entertainment — easily the most preposterous cinematic setup so far this year.
Is George completely out of control? Can downtown Chicago survive a monstrous gorilla, crocodile and wolf attack? (Croc and Wolf got the other two canisters.) Does any of this make sense? For answers, see “Rampage.” Or not.
Dwayne Johnson and Naomi Harris are attractive and likeable as lead human characters Davis Okoye and Dr. Kate Caldwell, but gorilla George is much more entertaining than either Kate or Davis. (A rude gesture from George got an out-loud laugh — twice.) Johnson does have some semi-humorous lines: “When animals like you,” he says, “they like you. Otherwise, they eat you.” On the other hand, Malin Akerman is Claire Wyden, an unfunny, ruthless corporate villain, determined to make gazillions of dollars from the genetic pathogen. “Either you come home with my research,” she says to terrified space-lab scientist, “or you don’t come home at all.” Jake Lacy plays her nebbish younger brother, Brett. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is OGA officer Harvey Russell, whose southern drawl and wink-wink delivery seem to belong in another movie. “OGA,” he says, “means ‘Other Government Agency.’”
Also in the cast is Demetrius Grosse as Colonel Blake whose task is to evacuate Chicago before George and his two behemoth pals destroy it. Marley Shelton is doomed space-lab scientist Dr. Kerry Atkins. Jack Quaid and Breanne Hill are supportive co-workers with Davis at the Wildlife Sanctuary.
“Rampage” is a mélange — a giant monster movie, sci-fi adventure, Dwayne Johnson star-turn action film, science-out-of-control drama, and arcade-game-inspired mindless entertainment. Directed by Brad Peyton, from a story by Ryan Engle, with cinematography by Jaron Presant, music by Andrew Lockington, and non-stop, noisy CGI, its estimated budget is $120 million. At times, it’s goofy entertainment, but mostly, it’s just dumb.
Rated PG-13 for violence, action, language and crude gestures, it runs 107 minutes, but seems longer.
Monsters on a “Rampage”!
Thousands left for dead!
Chicago’s Loop destroyed!
I’d watch “King Kong” instead.