This Week's Review: "Rampage"

I was in the mood for some simplistic plotting and mindless cinematic violence, so “Rampage” was a good choice for the April 14 weekend. The theater manager warned me not to expect anything profound; his term was “a perfect popcorn film.” He was right.

The plot is hackneyed, to say the least. A soulless corporation is conducting very forbidden genetic experiments in a laboratory hidden in a space satellite. Of course, things go wrong, very wrong. The satellite crashes and the lab’s contents land in at least three different states. Before long, a large gorilla, a flying wolf, and a very nasty alligator are terrorizing the nation. For various reasons, the three monsters are headed for Chicago, where that soulless corporation just happens to have its heavily fortified headquarters.

Before Dwayne Johnson can bring the situation under control, much of downtown Chicago lies in ruins. The sight of the mutated monsters climbing a skyscraper is vintage “King Kong.” Yes, the alligator can climb towers. Of course, the military wants to bring in stealth bombers loaded with nuclear goodies. Yes, the villainous heads of the evil corporation meet a fitting end. And, of course, Dwayne Johnson and two human allies save the day.

Johnson is very good with this sort of role and makes his character credible, but the real stars are the mutated monsters; they could easily be refugees from “Jurassic Park” or “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” Of the three, the gorilla is the only one with a sense of humor – very crude humor.

I spotted at least one editing problem (or a problem with the copy the theater was using): one important scene is missing and it takes a while to figure out what must have happened.

Will there be a sequel? There is a rat unaccounted for, and pieces of the orbiting laboratory may have landed in other parts of the world. Johnson and his allies may not remain unemployed for long.