The People’s Creature Feature: Our Review of ‘Rampage’ on Blu-Ray

Posted in Blu-Ray/DVD, Movies by - July 17, 2018
The People’s Creature Feature: Our Review of ‘Rampage’ on Blu-Ray

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There’s something to be said for embracing one’s strength’s…

As we live in a world with cinematic video game adaptation’s run amok it would make sense to come into something like Rampage with subpar expectations, and while it admittedly comes dangerously close to meeting that low bar it actually rises above thanks to the unimaginably magnetic charisma of its leading man, and being aware of it just when it counts the most.

Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), is a man who keeps people at a distance and with good reason as he looks for a quiet life working for the zoo where he shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. However when a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size all bets are off and Davis wants to stop at nothing to protect his friend.  On top of all that, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals and things are going to get a hell of a lot worse. As these newly created alpha predators tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer (Naomi Harris) to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.

Sure, when you really boil it all down to brass tacks Rampage was just a big ole bag of dumb that would make a bag of hammers looks urbane, witty and sometimes intelligent but thanks to the undeniable movie star powers of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson this movie struggles through some uneven tonal beats and allows itself some room to breathe and operate as an over the top piece of gonzo cinema where you just switch the brain to the off position and have some fun.

With Canada’s own Brad Peyton at the helm we do get somewhat of a competent affair here with someone who knows how to stage an action sequence and make sure that his star is pointed in the right direction.  The narrative has a certain economy to it, getting straight to the action and not bogging us down in scads of unnecessary exposition as the screenwriting team makes sure to get the audience down to the nitty and the gritty as soon as it is reasonably feasible.  The CGI and the destruction of it all actually looks pretty good as the visual effects while big and bold actually don’t take away from the story because aside from our leading man, the most compelling lead in this film was actually George the gorilla.  The stuff they can do from the motion capture suits these days was something to behold because while these animals were obviously larger than life, they never looked all that fake either.

In hands other than the ones that belong to “The Great One”; Rampage could have easily spiraled into an overpriced piece of garbage nonsense cinema that the studio could only hope and pray be sold overseas without needing to do any translation to the thing.  Johnson lends the film a certain degree of credibility and transforms what could have just been B Movie Trash into some glorious spectacle nonsense that we get jammed packed into each and every frame.  Sadly after this the ensemble either falls off a cliff in regards to interest or even talent.

Naomie Harris just feels far to straight for the role and playing the straight man in some ridiculous situations that they find themselves in still feels forced, even to an outsider.  Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy get a couple of moments as our brother/sister bad guys while the likes of Joe Manganiello and Marley Shelton get wasted in some throwaway roles while Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the only one on this entire picture who matches Johnson step for step with an arrogant swagger that make them both perfect to play off of one another.  That and Jason Wiles as George the Gorilla have made this excursion a lovely one that no one on the inside or even the outside of the ring will ever soon forget.

Picture and sound quality on the 4K Blu-Ray were top notch and this film will absolutely pop on the right home theatre system.  The special features include 5 behind the scenes featurettes, a gag reel and some deleted scenes.

No matter what happens to a movie like this; Rampage is one for the people because it takes some genuine clarity of vision to be the loudest, biggest and dumbest thing on the block…and own it all the way.  That’s Rampage.

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This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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