American films

Rampage film review: Dwayne Johnson and gigantic beasts in a dumb CG monstrosity

The Rock gives a fine tongue-in-cheek performance and the special effects steal the show in this film packed with inane dialogue, a terrible plot and a giant gorilla, wolf and alligator

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 April, 2018, 4:02am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 April, 2018, 4:02am

2/5 stars

Put the biggest action star on the planet alongside even bigger creatures and what do you have? A giant CGI monstrosity that has to be a front runner for next year’s Razzie awards.

Indeed, if there was an Oscar for keeping a straight face while delivering inane dialogue, then Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would clean up. He plays Davis Okoye, a primatologist at a San Diego zoo who prefers animals to people, particularly George, a hefty-looking albino gorilla.

Up in space, a research station blows apart but not before top secret impregnable canisters are jettisoned back to Earth. When they land, George swallows one and starts growing at an incredible rate, gaining in strength and agility.

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The trouble is, a wolf and an alligator also get dosed up. Soon enough, there’s mega carnage as these beasts head towards Chicago, honing in on a beacon set by Malin Akerman’s evil CEO, whose company is behind this unholy mess.

Directed by Brad Peyton, who previously made the more coherent earthquake disaster tale San Andreas with Johnson, this is one of those blockbusters packed full of muscle, military hardware and government agents in black suits, led by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who has a ball as the ball-busting Agent Russell.

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Naomie Harris gamely plays along as the scientist who was partly responsible for the genetics programme that led to these creatures, despite playing third fiddle to Johnson and a giant building-smashing ape.

A B-movie with A-grade effects, Rampage is not a film to be taken even slightly seriously. Disengage the brain, and you’ll probably relish the scenery-chewing performances and wince-making bad dialogue. The plotting is also utterly preposterous, not least considering how many injuries everyone seems to sustain.

But credit Johnson: the actor can carry this sort of nonsense off with a cheeky wink to the audience. It’s dumb beyond belief; even your 12 year-old self would think so.

Rampage opens on April 12

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