You get exactly what the marketing for RAMPAGE promises you. A glorified hour and 40 minute film where the main citywide ultimate destruction happens within the last 30 to 35 minutes of the movie. And that last 35 minutes is filled with really great CGI, cool destruction scenes, and Dwayne Johnson being this decades Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold would have starred in this if this was made in the 90s. Easily. So what about the other hour of the film. Other than the cool little 5 minute prologue starring Marley Shelton with the best acting she’s ever done since The Sandlot, you get eye rolling set up with stupid bad guy characters, stupid plot devices, laughable dialogue, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan literally walking from The Walking Dead set to film this, not breaking character, but a good guy instead of a murderous psychopath.
Other than the last half hour, the movie is really a ho hum affair. As far as video game movies go (this is very loosely based, basically they took the three monsters and the antennae you are supposed to destroy in the game and tried their best to design an actual plot around it), this would probably be under Tomb Raider and Mortal Kombat. But in the end, is that really saying much? This film was made to buy when it is on sale, and only watch if you have a giant screen and a great giant sound system, and then fast forward the movie and only stop and watch thru the destruction scenes.
And the movie really wouldn’t work at all if it weren’t for Dwayne Johnson and the actual bromance that works between him and George, the Albino Ape that goes ape-shit in the movie. Admit it, The Rock has great charisma (his best movie is easily The Rundown). That’s why half of his movies even work. And he’s not a bad actor. He’s certainly better than Schwarzenegger at his prime. And Dwayne Johnson definitely hasn’t phoned in a performance yet (he will someday on a film he’s pushed into and doesn’t want to be in). The rest of the acting though in this film is laughable or bad. Bad in the sense that Malin Ackerman and Jake Lacy make the worst bad guys owning a multi million dollar company since….well, actually maybe ever. They are both terrible in this. Naomi Harris is okay but she looks like she’s just filling time before she’s called back on Bond 25.
And now let’s talk a tiny bit about Jeffrey Dean Morgan. He’s is Nice Negan in this. He literally walked over from the set of AMC, and just didn’t break character. Maybe that was the point and why he was hired? Instead of Negan in a black leather jacket, he’s wearing a suit, and instead of a bad, it’s a gun. But the Cowboy drawl is there, and even some of the dialogue seems like it was lifted from cut scenes from a Walking Dead script. He isn’t bad per say, but it was a little distracting and laughable. I did like how his character was actually smart and not some dumb government asshole, I just wish that it wasn’t a Negan-like performance, and it might’ve even been better than Johnson in the movie.
Again, let’s face it, the movie is ho-hum and almost laughably not watchable except for the first 5 minutes, and the last thirty. The destruction is awesome and the special effects are really good. The action cliches are watchable, and it brings me back to watching the best destruction parts in the first Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, San Andreas and even the stupidest shittiest parts of 2012. It’s not the cheesiest of cheese you can get, but it is a whole lot of cheddar. You just have to decide if you are lactose intolerant or not.