In a Nutshell: My 4 sons used to play the 1997 MidwayRampagevideo game, so I was curious to see how well director Brad Peyton would adapt the game to a movie for the fans. Historically, movies that take video games to the big screen are not that great. Well, here’s another one. This movie requires you to turn off your brain and not care. (I guess video games are like that too.) If you just want to see some monsters destroy a city and watch the ROCK do his thing (he’s awesome), then this movie is for you (order it here). If storytelling and character development is important to you, then you’re going to have trouble watching this.
Tips for parents:
You quickly care about George, the silverback gorilla. Unfortunately, he flips the bird several times and swears. There is some other profanity, but no F-bombs. There is a HUGE body count. There are a lot of bloody bodies and some of the deaths are almost portrayed as a joke, which was a bit alarming. Surprisingly for a PG-13 movie, there is a lot of blood splatter effect when people die. Needless to say, there is a LOT of destruction and violence, mostly done by the monsters, but humans shoot a lot of guns and crash into things too, putting a lot of people in perilous situations. Another element that you might need to talk to your younger kids about is poachers. You might need to explain what poachers are and why they’re so bad. One character shows a lot of cleavage and there is an inappropriate joke at the end of the movie.
Family, friendship, loyalty, animal protection
Things that are good:
According to IMDB, an original cabinet of the Rampage arcade game can be seen in Claire Wyden’s office. That’s a fun Easter egg for fans, but it doesn’t make sense for her to have it. Another thing fans will like is the respectful nod that the city rampage occurs in Chicago, the headquarters of Midway video games. The movie feels like a video game, especially in the second half when the monsters are destroying everything, which is basically all the popular video game was about anyway! The CGI monsters look really cool and they did a great job merging live action with CGI. The young male gorilla that is new at the Sanctuary in the beginning of the movie looks totally fake. George looks much better.
You’ll actually learn a little bit of sign language, because the gorilla uses sign language to communicate with Dwayne Johnson’s character. My niece married a deaf man, so I’m always thrilled when sign language is used in movies. Another movie that uses sign language and is currently in theaters is A Quiet Place.
As far as character development, some are well done and others not so much. For example, if you love The Rock like I do, you’ll be fairly content just to watch him work his magic and you even see him burst out of some zip ties in one scene. First of all, his biceps are soooo massive! Second, you actually can do it too and big biceps aren’t required. A former CIA agent taught me how. Make sure the zip tie lock faces up. Then, lift up your arms above your head and quickly pull them down to your hips, pulling your elbows back as fast as you can. Ta da!
SPOILER: Jeffrey Dean Morgan does a bad guy so well. He was so maniacal inThe Walking Dead: Season 8that I finally had to stop watching the show. Seriously evil. Luckily, he has a heart in this movie.
Things that are not very good:
There were quite a few differences in the movie and game, although George and Ralph keep their names in the movie. Lizzie’s name is never mentioned as the crocodile. George was never an albino in the game. The biggest difference, however, is that the monsters in the video game were mutated humans, not mutated animals like in this movie.
The villains are really terrible, but not in a good way. They felt like one-dimensional cartoon characters. Some other characters are introduced in the beginning, but completely disappear from the story. Naomie Harris doesn’t really do anything in the story, other than run around and rely on the ROCK to come up with a plan. It was nice to see an African American woman get a leading role. I’m sure she could have really wowed us if the script had been better.
There are some really dumb details that could have been easily fixed if anyone working on the movie had been paying attention or cared. An added scene at the end could have easily tied up some loose ends and provided some needed continuity in the storytelling. The clip in the movie trailer that shows the gorilla crack the crocodile’s jaws open likeKing Kongdoes to the dinosaur in his movie didn’t actually make it into this movie. There is still plenty of man-on-monster and monster-on-monster action to make up for that epic shot.
Overall, it’s brainless fun and a good bucket of buttery popcorn will easily help you get over the flaws.
For another “monster on the loose in a big city” flick to watch with your family, we recommend the classic original King Kong from 1933. It's still a blast, all these years later. Rent or buy here.
Trina Boice is an author of 23 books and teaches online for BYU-Idaho in the Pathway program. She received the Young Mother of the Year honor in 2004, an award that completely amuses her 4 sons. She’s a popular international speaker in China and writes movie reviews atwww.MovieReviewMom.com. You can find her books on Amazon, and at www.TrinasBooks.com