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Rampage Movie Review

Bigger isn’t always better.

Reviewed by on Apr 11, 2018
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw the new Dwayne Johnson action film Rampage in IMAX. Can Dwayne mix it up with a giant gorilla, ginormous crocodile and a humungous flying wolf? Check our movie review.

By: Lynn Barker

In Rampage, based upon a 1986 video arcade game, primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) who heads an anti-poaching unit, sees his buddy George (Jason Liles in motion capture gear), a huge albino gorilla, go from friendly monkey to huge, destructive, raging terror due to exposure to a genetic editing serum he was subjected to when it fell to Earth from a destroyed space lab. Two other animals were also exposed and enhanced in size and rage.  Can George’s plight be reversed or must Davis lose his old friend along with half of Chicago?

Kate, George and Davis worry that George will be shotKate, George and Davis worry that George will be shotCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures


When a lone, female scientist calls Earth for help from a destroyed space station, she insists that an “experiment” is loose and has killed the crew….it’s a version of a giant rat! She escapes with samples of a genetic editing drug made by Engyne, a company using it as a weapon to enhance the rage of various animals. When her escape pod blows up, the samples fall to Earth. One in a wetland, one in Wyoming and one in an area of the San Diego zoo.

The giant wolf sneaks up behind BurkeThe giant wolf sneaks up behind BurkeCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Davis and George

Hunky primatologist Davis teaches a group of students how to interact with and study gorillas in a wild area of the San Diego Zoo. He introduces them to his pal George, a big albino gorilla to whom he has taught sign language. They have a funny and real buddy relationship. They even fist bump. It’s established that Davis is more into animals than people. Later, one of the genetic editing samples is discovered by George and it contaminates him.

Davis (Dwayne Johnson) uses sign language with GeorgeDavis (Dwayne Johnson) uses sign language with GeorgeCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Angry George, Pretty Kate

Growing larger, George has escaped and killed a huge grizzly bear. Davis has to cage him until it can be determined what is wrong with him. The capsule containing the strange genetic serum has been found but nobody knows what it is. Enter Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris), who has seen the container on a TV broadcast. She lets Davis know what it is. She developed it for her former employer Engyne. Meanwhile, tough soldier of fortune Burke (Joe Manganiello) is sent by evil Engyne boss Claire  Wyden (Malin Akerman) to find the serum containers and a rogue giant wolf in Wyoming. The wolf kills him and all his men.

Malin Akerman as Engyne boss ClaireMalin Akerman as Engyne boss ClaireCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Back to George

Davis learns more about the serum. George is pumped full of growth hormone and other aggression-enhancing stuff and is now 9 feet tall and growing. Is there an anti-dote? Maybe but it would be at Engyne headquarters. George busts out of his cage and rampages around the zoo. He signs to Davis that he is frightened. Davis might help him but a helicopter arrives and shoots at him. He runs away and Kate and Davis are grabbed and taken to black ops agent Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). When science goes crazy, he’s called in. His men have captured George and he’s tranquilized on a transport plane. Kate and Davis are also put aboard. Russell tells Davis he is truly sorry about his gorilla friend.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays agent RussellJeffrey Dean Morgan plays agent RussellCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Claire’s Plot and a Crash

Claire knows that radio waves will attract the giant creatures, the military can kill them and Engyne will salvage what they can from the bodies. She has enhanced a big radio antenna on the roof in Chicago to “call” the critters. George wakes up and wrecks the inside of the cargo plane and it goes down but Davis and Kate bail out taking an unconscious Russell with them. At the crash site, George is missing. He’s regenerated and survived the crash! Claire finds out what has happened. She knows Kate is helping save George and the other big animals and wants her dead!

Davis and Kate survive the plane crashDavis and Kate survive the plane crashCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

George’s Past

While tracking George, Davis explains to Kate that he rescued him as a tiny baby when poachers killed his mom in front of him. Davis then killed the poachers. He trusts animals more than humans. Kate didn’t know what Engyne planned for her serum when she created it. It was supposed to help animals. The huge, rampaging trio of animals arrives in Chicago and starts wrecking buildings etc. Davis and Kate must get to the Engyne building and get the antidote. If it can be given to George, he will be normal enough to help them stop the other two critters.

Huge wolf roams the streets of ChicagoHuge wolf roams the streets of ChicagoCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Race Against Time

With Russell now helping them, Davis and Kate must get the antidote and give it to George before a big bomb is dropped on the whole city to stop the rampaging animals. It’s learned that the antidote will make George calm and himself again but, he will remain gigantic. Will the good guys get the antidote in time? Will Claire get what’s coming to her? Will Davis and Kate form a romantic bond? Will George’s aggression be stopped so he can help save the day?

Kate, Davis and Russell try to convince military not to drop the bombKate, Davis and Russell try to convince military not to drop the bombCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Wrapping Up

Rampage is just a popcorn-munching good time at the cinema. Action sequences are often creative and both CGI and motion capture giant creatures look convincing. Credit should be given to very tall actor Jason Liles who, in a motion capture suit, portrays albino gorilla George with great sensitivity. His interactions with Dwayne Johnson are both touching and often funny. CGI experts then transferred Liles’ expressions to gorilla George’s face and eyes. You end up loving this big furry guy!

Giant alligator wants a helicopter snackGiant alligator wants a helicopter snackCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Once the story and characters are established, we move on to the critters-destroy- Chicago battle that takes the film into video game territory but, enough “story” is going on throughout that we don’t get bored.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan, doing his version of a Texas cowboy good ole’ boy, is effective and fun and we only see shades of “Walking Dead” baddie Negan as he stands toe-to-toe with Dwayne. Malin Akerman, who played Silk Spectre II, a superhero, in 2009’s Watchmen movie, is kind of a cliché evil corporate bee-otch but she does it with flair. Naomie Harris makes a believable genetic scientist and a hot match for Dwayne who saves the day with his usual cool, muscle-rippling expertise.

Davis and Kate in the crashing planeDavis and Kate in the crashing planeCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Rampage follows a formula but one that seems to work. If you are into seeing Dwayne and friends (this includes a well-executed giant, albino gorilla) save the day yet again, this action adventure is exactly what it is intended to be, a fun, eye-candy, semi-supernatural romp at the movies. See it in IMAX and with loud, giant critter-roaring Dolby sound if you can. We had a blast so go four stars.

Rampage Movie Rating: 4

Rampage Movie PosterCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

See Rampage in theaters now!

Have Your Say

Would you love to have a gorilla pal you could talk sign language with? Are you always up for a film in which popular Dwayne Johnson kicks butt and saves the world? Roar in with a comment below!