Rampage (Autism Friendly Screening) (12A)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Will Yun Lee, Malin Akerman, Naomie Harris
Director: Brad Peyton
Writer(s): Adam Sztykiel, Ryan J Condal, Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland
Primatologist Davis Okoye is part of a close-knit team based at San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary, who has raised an albino silverback gorilla called George since the ape's mother was slaughtered by poachers. A serum infects George, causing the gorilla to develop heightened aggression. The animal's increasing size and mood swings pose a threat to human life so the military attempts to contain George, only for the animal to escape. Davis joins forces with genetic engineer Kate Caldwell to find a cure.
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LondonNet Film Review
If any proof were needed of humanity's hubris, look no further than Rampage. Hundreds of men and women, including four scriptwriters and an army of special effects wizards, invested thousands of hours of sweat and tears in this outlandish action-packed fantasy adventure based on a popular 1980s video game. The result is a chest-beating behemoth of a blockbuster with no soul, wit, warmth or sincerity, which lumbers from the risible to the yawn-inducingly improbable without pausing for breath for such basic concerns as logic, characterisation or emotional depth. The ineptitude of Brad Peyton's film is remarkable, eliciting peels of unintentional laughter with its clumsy dialogue and ham-fisted attempts to create a touching bond between muscular lead star Dwayne Johnson and a digitally rendered ape...
Rampage the video game was a mindless and entertaining exercise in wanton destruction. The big screen adaptation lacks even this vicarious thrill as we watch a genetically edited gorilla, wolf and American crocodile tumble skyscrapers like dominos in the centre of Chicago to the beat of Andrew Lockington's bombastic orchestral score. Johnson plays former Special Forces operative turned primatologist Davis Okoye, who is part of a close-knit team based at San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary.
Davis has raised an albino silverback gorilla called George since the ape's mother was slaughtered by poachers and the creature trusts Davis implicitly, communicating using basic sign language. Canisters of a serum engineered by Energyne Industries, which is controlled by scheming minx Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman) and her goofy brother Brett (Jake Lacy), fall to Earth from the exploding Athena-1 space station laboratory. George is infected and the normally mild-mannered ape develops heightened aggression as he rapidly increases in size and bulk. Discredited genetic engineer Dr Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) pledges to help Davis discover a cure before George is deemed a risk to human life and has to be destroyed by shadowy government agent Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). "When someone [soils] the bed, I'm the guy they call to change the sheets," growls Russell, who ignores Davis' predictions of impending catastrophe at his peril.
Rampage opens in deep space with a competently orchestrated evacuation of the Energyne space station that recalls the sci-fi horrors Life and Alien. Once the narrative re-enters Earth's atmosphere in a fireball of special effects and impacts terra firma with an almighty bang, Peyton's film goes up in smoke. For the first time, Johnson's natural charisma fails to atone for the sins of a ham-fisted script and his on-screen romance with Harris' ballsy woman of science is inert. Dizzying action sequences, saturated to choking with computer trickery, pummel us into weary submission and demand no emotional response. "Thanks for saving the world," coos one character to Johnson's swaggering hero. Thanks for nothing.
- Jo Planter
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