Rampage - Big Meets Bigger

It all started back in 1993.

That's when scientists first began revolutionary research on genetic editing. Now, decades later, scientists at Energyne have built on that foundation, making remarkable breakthroughs in DNA manipulation. But they've come with a nasty side effect: lab animals mutating to become much larger and more aggressive than they naturally are. In fact, researchers on a space station are unable to cage the genetically modified beasties they've begotten. And one day, an experiment in orbit goes disastrously awry, sending genetically modified particles, raining down upon the San Diego Zoo …

… and into the bloodstream of a gentle giant of an albino gorilla named George. The same particles find new hosts in an alligator and a wolf elsewhere. The result? Each animal grows in size and city-smashing aggression, thanks to their newly altered genetic codes. George is more giant than ever. But he's anything but gentle now.

Who can stop these creatures' Godzilla-like rampage? Perhaps only George's longtime trainer, primatologist and all-round animal whisperer Davis Okoye. He bands together with Dr. Kate Caldwell. Together, they might just be the only two people on Earth who can save the planet from being ravaged by the mutating monsters mankind has unwittingly unleashed.


Rampage delivers a message about the importance of preserving life on Earth even as the story warns against the unknown risks of "monkeying around" with animals' genetic codes.

Davis has the ability to connect deeply with animals, intuitively relating to them in ways that calm them. And, this being the kind of action film that it is, Davis and Kate obviously put their lives on the line (as do many other minor characters) to stop the mutated monsters from tearing through skyscrapers.

Humanity's goodness gets called into question at certain points, but it's obvious that heroes can still stand up against those who commit evil. The film also suggests that those who are cruel, harsh and vindictive will eventually face justice. The value of friendship—sometimes in unlikely relational combinations—is another redemptive theme here.


Someone refers to himself as “el diablo,” Spanish for "the devil."


Female characters wear tight dresses that reveal cleavage. We see a woman wearing a long shirt without pants, and her underwear is visible. A woman wears short shorts as well.

George pantomimes a movement suggesting intercourse. A woman flirts with a man, suggestively using the word "submission." Women often flirt with Davis, causing others to want to imitate his physical appearance.


In clashes between humans and genetically modified animals, people mostly lose. Humans get crushed, structures topple (causing, presumably, even more unseen casualties). Buildings, vehicles and airplanes explode as the monsters destroy them. Someone gets eaten by one of them. We see bloody attacks, animal carcasses and dismembered human body parts (including a severed hand floating weightlessly in space).

Human weapons—guns, tranquilizers and bombs—wreak more havoc but often fail to yield the desired result: dead monsters. That's due in part to the genetically modified DNA within them that enables them to regenerate health quickly and causes them to just keep growing … and growing … and growing.

Not only do animals attack humans, but humans attack one another, too. Several scenes include soldiers and civilians carrying guns and weapons of various kinds, and using them against one another. A man gets shot, and a woman is blown to pieces. Multiple scuffles involve punching and fighting. Someone refers to military personnel as “Killers 'R' Us.” One painful scene disturbingly suggests that poachers are butchering a mother gorilla, while a baby gorilla hides in terror. (We only see machetes flying, but not their brutal impact.)


Someone shouts an unfinished "motherf—." We hear nearly 20 s-words. Jesus’ name is abused four times, and God’s name is misused 10 times, often paired with “d--n.” There are more than 15 uses of "h---." Other profanities include "b--ch,” “a--,” “a--hole,” “d--mit,” “d--n” and “b--tards." George, the gorilla, performs crude hand gestures twice as jokes.


Someone says, “I need a drink,” though that person doesn't actually consume any alcohol.


We hear about poachers illegally selling dead animals on the black market. A terrified man is jokingly told, "Check your diaper." There's a verbal gag about someone wetting himself. One main character lies to someone twice.


If you take a trip down memory lane back to 1986, you might recall the inspiration for this popcorn flick. That year, Rampage was released as an arcade game paying deliberately cheesy homage to monster movies (Godzilla, King Kong, etc.). And it offered players the chance to digitally destroy 8-bit skyscrapers.

That's basically what this movie is about. Except instead of just glorying in wanton destruction, Rampage, the movie, glories in watching Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson try to save the world from those monsters. (But not before we witness plenty of CGI carnage.) This is a typical Dwayne Johnson movie: Buildings explode, the end of the world is near, and only one man can save the day … I’m sure you can guess who that is.

The film's socially conscious messages will likely resonate with some viewers but prompt a bit of guffawing from others, given the overwrought extremes they're taken to here. But the bigger issues than this film's bad B-movie believability include loads of violent imagery and a surprising quantity of profanity for a film you might think was supposedly aimed at family audiences.

It's not, really.

So if you've got a hankering for experiencing Rampage, I'd suggest heading down to the local vintage arcade with a pocket full o' quarters instead.

More movie reviews at PluggedIn.com


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