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Review - 'Rampage'

Review - 'Rampage'

Dwayne Johnson has made a name for himself leading big blockbuster actioners, he is so synonymous with success that he's literally leading a movie based on an old video game to prove that no matter what you throw at him, he's going to turn it into box office gold. Though he's a huge star, his movies are more hit-or-miss. Rampage is a miss, but at least there are some giant monsters to look at. 

Rampage (based extremely loosely off of the video game of the same name) follows three different animals that become super-sized by an unstable pathogen. Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) and Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) team up to try and stop the beasts before they reek havoc on Chicago.

Rampage is the very definition of a B-movie. The dialogue and plot is laughably dumb, while the action is big and makes no apologies for the copious doses of destruction and machismo on display. I love a good B-movie, but this one didn't quite hit the sweet spot for me. Maybe it's because I like my B-movies to at least have a small modicum of imagination, which seems to mostly be lacking here. Rampage is a big-budget film with virtually nothing more on its mind than to have Dwayne Johnson fight big monsters.

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The first hour or so of this film is almost painful watch. I went into Rampage expecting wall-to-wall action. There's one sequence on an airplane that made me perk up slightly, but it's really not until the finale that we actually get that promised "rampage". Fortunately, the last 20-30 minutes of the film recovers in a big way. The action is solid and the way the various monsters duke it out is actually pretty cool to witness. Still, a fun finale isn't enough to justify the first two thirds of a film being so plodding and boring.

In addition to this, Dwayne Johnson is in total autopilot mode here. Yes, the man is naturally charismatic and doesn't have to try to get me to like him, but I could have used a bit more effort here. There are also no distinguishing qualities to his character that help differentiate him from characters he's played in the past. Between this and his character in San Andreas, I honestly wouldn't be able to point out a difference. Naomie Harris is also in this film as a genetic engineer, and it's just odd seeing her turn in a completely nothing performance after seeing her bring down the house in Moonlight. Then there's Jeffrey Dean Morgan who is the only one who seems to realize he's in a full-on B-movie. He's having fun with a completely over-the-top southern accent. Malin Akerman plays the villain here, and her delivery is absolutely terrible, and I honestly couldn't tell if it was intentionally bad or not. 

Rampage hits all of the bullet points that qualify what you should have in a B-movie, but rarely elaborates on them resulting in a dull, weightless experience. The third act saves the film by providing fun action on a massive scale, but it's too little too late.

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