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‘Rampage’: Not the next ‘Godzilla’ or ‘King Kong’

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, April 11, 2018  /  05:19 pm

Another movie featuring large animals wreaking havoc in (most likely) America, Rampage stars Dwayne Johnson as David Okoye, a primatologist. When George the albino silver-back gorilla that he rescued from infancy gets infected by some mysterious chemicals that presumably edit his DNA, David has to get to the bottom of it.

Teaming up with Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) and Agent Ralph (Jeffery Dean Morgan), David Okoye is thrown on a journey to try to save George and stop him from his path of rampage.

On the other hand, Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman) and her brother Brett Wyden (Jake Lacy) are dead set on trying to secure three mutated animals. The plan is to harvest the edited genetics from the animals and sell them. Claire Wyden, who is responsible for mutating the animals has decided that attracting the animals to the middle of Chicago is the best way to secure the DNA. And it is up to David Okoye and his team to stop this.

While Rampage certainly has smooth computer-generated effects, good action scenes and the occasional funny line thrown in, plot-wise it falls very flat. Rampage is clearly trying to depend on its action scenes to cover up how bad the plot is. There are too many plot holes and the way the characters resolve the conflict barely makes any sense.

First of all, we get Claire who is supposedly the mastermind behind all this. “I always have a plan,” she says to her brother Brett, with a mysterious smirk on her face before walking out the door dramatically.

And what a plan it is. She literally thinks that when the animals are attracted to the middle of Chicago, the military should be able to deal with them. This, without knowing what these animals are capable of. She reasons that once the animals are dead, her company can swoop in and claim their edited DNA. She is a poorly formed character who is meant to be evil, sadistic and manipulative but this fails.

For a science fiction film, this movie doesn’t even list out any reasonable scientific facts that make remote sense. Genetic editing? Sure—but we are not enlightened about what the genetic editing really is and how they managed to achieve it in the movie. We just have to believe that some clouds of vapor from a broken tube can mutate an animal by causing it to become large, fast and aggressive. There is only a note at the start of the film that “genetic editing” is now banned in countries all over the world and nothing else is mentioned.

Even the ending of this movie is anti-climactic and cliché. It’s as if by the ending, the movie ran out of ideas on how to end it properly because the mutated animals are too overpowering to be killed.

According to director Brad Peyton in an interview, the movie will “be a lot more emotional, a lot scarier and a lot more real than you'd expect.” ( However, this movie is rather far from being all that.

Read also: 'Pacific Rim' dethrones 'Black Panther' in box office

Rampage might ruin the high expectations of those who enjoy watching the destructive actions of large animals. It is easily overshadowed by other science fiction monster movies like Godzilla ( 2014 ), Pacific Rim ( 2013 ), Cloverfield ( 2008 ) or King Kong ( 2005 ). (ely/mut)