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Rampage DVD Review: “Dumb, entertaining escapism… with giant beasts”

Although Rampage is based on the popular Midway game of the 80s and 90s, this film version’s main ties are with the Zack-Snyder-through-buildings levels of destruction and the three key animal characters, George the albino Gorilla, Ralph the Wolf (who can also fly) and giant Godzilla-alike Lizzie the Lizard. In Rampage (2018), the animals are infected with a pathogen that makes them gigantic, violent and out to kill everything in their path. How? Well, an ethically-questionable Science lab has created an altered DNA and they want to sell it to the highest bidder, so anyone can make weaponised beasts for themselves.

Yes, it’s the far-fetched side of Science Fiction monster movies but it looks good and brings everything you need for this type of escapism. Although there are questionable performances from some, I’ll come back to that, Dwayne Johnson brings it again and proves himself more than a match for anyone as a naturally funny action-hero out to do the right thing, and that’s pretty much what keeps Rampage ticking over.

Working for the third time with director Brad Peyton, Johnson plays Davis, a primatologist working at San Diego Zoo who looks after the George the Gorilla, a rare albino primate who he’d rescued from poachers when he worked for the US Army as part of an anti-poaching unit. After an incident in space from a research lab, which opens the film, the aforementioned pathogen falls to Earth and affects specific animals in three separate locations in the States. Obviously.

After this, a whole series of silly things occur but – as already mentioned – the action keeps you attracted alongside impressively original use of shots and cinematography, even if a lot of is death and destruction.  Johnson nails the role, he’s entertaining, believable and you know he can kick ass, so there’s no messing around when it comes to action. I’m unsure how he could be shot and carry on as normal but – also – there’s a giant gorilla, mammoth crocodile and flying wolf going around so does it matter? Not really.

Naomie Harris is also watchable as the geneticist Dr Kate Caldwell, who teams up with Davis to try and find the antidote and save everybody. The other stand-out star is Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Harvey Russell, a Government official who works for some kind of secret agency that we never learn about but it doesn’t matter, he’s great in it. Ex-Watchmen co-star Malin Akerman hams it up as evil Claire Wyden, the CEO of Energyne, the gene mutation lab who’ve caused all the trouble. P.J. Byrne and Breanne Hill appear and disappear too quickly and I’m not sure what’s going on with Jake Lacy’s character, or what film he thinks he’s in, because he only brings irritation.

Rampage is a fun and easy-to-understand (the characters literally tell you what’s happening) action-adventure. Yeah, it’s beyond reality and yes, there are more than enough cheesy moments but if you’re looking to switch off and escape from the world around you for a couple of hours, well, this is probably your bag.

Rampage is available on DVD, 4K Ultra HD & Blu-Ray from 20th August.

Order it now: https://amzn.to/2w24IDz

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