Rampage review: the Rock v a giant ape. It’s worse than it sounds

A flying wolf can’t make up for awful dialogue, absent humour and ropy CGI

The official trailer for Rampage, starring Dwayne Johnson. Video: Warner Bros.

Rampage: barely a third as much fun as it ought to be

Film Title: Rampage

Director: Brad Peyton

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Åkerman, Jake Lacy, Marley Shelton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Genre: Action

Running Time: 107 min

Thu, Apr 12, 2018, 06:00

   

Are a giant albino ape and the artist formerly known as the Rock enough in themselves? That is the philosophical question posed by the latest film from the director of San Andreas. The query seems rhetorical. What more could a flick need? A giant flying wolf? Well, you get that too in Rampage. Why are we still having this conversation?

I try to avoid using the phrase “with the best will in the world”, but, with the best will in the world, it’s hard to escape the notion that Rampage is barely a third as much fun as it ought to be.

It starts out all right. My man Dwayne Johnson is a primatologist – what? It’s a thing – working in San Diego with an albino ape named George. One ordinary day, bits of an exploded spaceship crash to earth and make George much bigger and much more ferocious.

Somewhere else other space trash makes a wolf bigger and more equipped with wings and killer quills. Giant George and Bat-Wolf-Porcupine make their way towards a terrified Chicago.

Of course there are things to enjoy here. It would take a more talented film-maker than Brad Peyton to render such material entirely benign. “They shot at us. They missed. I shot back. I didn’t,” Dwayne says of mean poachers. Constantly changing into dresses glamorous enough for the premiere of a classier film than Rampage, Malin Åkerman makes Cruella de Vil-shaped bricks from the rotten straw of her awful, awful dialogue.

It might work if the CGI were a little less ropy and they’d kept Jeffrey Dean Morgan off the set. The scaling on the creatures is random, the images are often muddy and the backgrounds are not the only thing reminiscent of Donkey Kong.

And then there’s JDM as an agent who thinks he’s a cowboy. He’s doing it again. He’s doing that thing where he smirks at the end of every single line. What’s so bleeding funny, Morgan? Huh? Huh? Not you. Not this film.

Oh, I don’t know why I bother.