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Blu-ray Review: Rampage

July 17, 2018

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

Loosely based on the video game that first launched in the 1980s, Rampage follows Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), a primatologist at a wildlife sanctuary in San Diego who has formed a bond with a rare albino silverback gorilla named George, who he has taught to communicate through sign language.

But when the generally peaceful George becomes infected with a pathogen that is released when rogue canisters fall from the sky, his genes start to rapidly evolve and he gains super strength, causing him to grow in size and wreak havoc on the surrounding area.

The pathogen originated from an gene-editing experiment involving CRISPR that was being done aboard the space station, masterminded by mad scientist siblings Brett (Jake Lacy) and Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman), who work for the sleazy company Energyne. It also infects a crocodile in Florida and a wolf in Wyoming, causing them to grow in size and gain the attributes of other animals. This forces Davis to team up with geneticist Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris), and work with government agent Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), in order to stop the creatures before they destroy Chicago, and hopefully also find an antidote to save George.

For what it’s worth, Rampage is another in a long line of mediocre action films that is kept watchable thanks to the magnetic screen presence and genuine likability of Dwayne Johnson, who is teaming up once again with Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and San Andreas director Brad Peyton. The plot of the film grows more outlandish as it goes along, with every set-piece bigger and cheesier than the last, but it seems fully aware of its own ridiculousness, playing with its tongue firmly planted in cheek.

This is one of those films that sets out to deliver nothing more than big, dumb fun, without any real pretense of being something more, and on that basis it is mildly successful at what it sets out to do. It’s not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s mildly entertaining and I wasn’t really bored while watching it, so I guess that counts for something.

The Blu-ray also includes deleted scenes, a gag reel, and the five featurettes Not Just a Game Anymore, Rampage: Actors in Action, Trio of Destruction, Attack on Chicago, and Bringing George to Life.

Rampage is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release. It’s 108 minutes and rated 14A.

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