At MonsterGamez, we are firm in our utmost regard for the now-Warner Bros.-owned Rampage video game franchise. Monster Gamez is particularly partial to the 1986 arcade version, but let’s face it: Rampage is probably the greatest video game ever created.
So when we heard that Rampage was getting the big-screen treatment from who else but Warner Bros., replete with probably the studio’s single biggest box office draw, The Rock (sorry, Dwayne Johnson), you bet Monster Gamez was first in line at the cinema – despite the vast pessimism we felt, essentially feeling this movie had no chance. The results were surprising.
The Rampage video game: The greatest ever or…?
Dude, of course Rampage is the greatest video game of all-time. What simpler premise could there be than to play as a giant monster and destroy? What greater guttural satisfaction can be attained at a video game console than trashing human cities as pitiful not-so-tough soldiers flee? What game has better sound than a bigass stand-up arcade game with stereo speakers? Booms and crashes that really sound as though created by King Kong’s mighty fist.
Since 1986, a new version of Rampage is released for home formats about every three years on average, but these basics are always carried over. The original gigantic beasties – Georgie the giant gorilla, Ralph the oversized wanton wolf, and the Lizzie the Godzilla act-alike – have been joined by other titanic monsters, they’ve been sent through time and space, and the single-screen format has been exchanged for side-scrolling. But the object gloriously remains the same: Destroy those annoying human cities.
(Oddly enough, though, Rampage has yet to inspire either mobile-format or slot machine games – though the success of the 2018 movie will probably goose both along a bit, we’d reckon.)
Rampage: The Movie – The best bad Hollywood movie in years
About 20 minutes in to Rampage (2018), two facts become apparent: 1) that this is simply the best good-bad movie that Hollywood has produced since the glory days of pre-Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger; and b) it is more obvious than ever that the Rock will someday be the POTUS.
Sadly, due to Hollywood conventions, Rampage can’t simply begin with three massive monsters pummeling the hell out of Chicago, followed by 90 minutes more of the same. So we get lots of exposition and backstory. Barely beyond seat-settling time, we already get a giant mouse running rampant on a space station, and David Okoye (the rippeder-than-ever Dwayne Johnson) who is essentially Chris Pratt’s character from Jurassic World, except with gorillas instead of raptors.
In a truly zeitgeist bit of plotting, our baddies are represented by an EEEEevil company called Energyne. Energyne is the sort of company which thinks nothing of throwing away $10 billion on an experiment and has seemingly never employed more than three people at any one time. The faces of Energyne are Claire and Brett Wyden (Malin Åkerman and Jake Lacy), a sister-and-brother team in which she’s the Lex Luthor-level genius and he’s the comic relief.
What ensues is one solid 82 minutes of chase scenes; fistfights (dude, The Rock even chokes a guy out at one point); heroes shrugging off bullet wounds; secret agents from ultra-secret nameless government organizations (led by Jeffrey Dean “The Comedian” Morgan and you bet he plays it with a super-lazy Southern drawl); and about 158 aircraft crashes.
And after that, the fun really begins as the three monsters finally get to destroying some Chicago (after the entire area is 99.9% evacuated, naturally), followed in turn by an awesome tag-team match pitting the now-chill giant George (the Rock’s best buddy back at the preserve) and Okoye’s seriously huge weaponry vs. Ralph and Lizzie (who tragically is never formally given the sobriquet during the movie). Seriously, the final 15 minutes of this film had better already be in the Monster Movie Hall of Fame if not already.
Rampage (2018) movie review: The verdict
Generation Xers certainly remember the days of horror movies on the weekends playing on their local TV networks. Rampage will take these folks back on a warm wave of nostalgia to those “Creature Double Feature” extravaganzas of old.
Millennials and post-Millennials of the sort that appreciate the good healthy destruction of more symbols of humanity’s hubris as depicted in, likesay, Jurassic World or Cloverfield will certainly dig on a 21st-century equivalent of the classic monster vs. monster of peak Godzilla flicks.
In short, this is fantastic old-fashioned goofy fun at the movies. Chasing up Jumanji and the Guardians of the Galaxy films (sort of) with this film has the future President on a similar career path to those other great B-actors turned politico like Ronald Reagan or Jesse Ventura or Mr. Schwarzenegger. As it stands, The Rock may be the sole action hero left in Hollywood who dares allow a little humor in his fantastical films. Vote The Rock in 2024!
Monster Gamez rating **** of 5
IMDb rating: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 52%
Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 80%