Redress – I used to go to the cinema loads when I was younger but these days, due to being busy and not knowing what films are on, I don’t go any more. Now there is actually a film I want to see at the cinema, I should make an effort and go to the cinema again.
There was a point, from around 2002 – 2008, where I used to go to the cinema all the time. I knew what films were playing and planned accordingly. I was able to round up friends, get my 2 for 1 tickets ready and plan what ice cream I would be purchasing. However, something changed….
As me and my friends all grew up and we started moving away from each other, I started going to the cinema less and less. I went a few times with my wife, but both of us were out of touch with the films coming out and the increasing prices drove us away. It’s only in the last few years, when we’ve been taking the kids to the cinema have we started going again.
I thought I was out of the film going habit. I’ve not got the patience for long films (I blame Titanic for encouraging every subsequent blockbuster that they had to be three hours long) and the lack of time and money meant I wasn’t really interested in trying to arrange a trip to the cinema. Then I saw the adverts for Rampage….
I loved Rampage as a kid. So simple, yet so effective. Three monsters smashing up cities and eating people? Awesome. I had the Atari ST version, free on a magazine cover disk, and I spent a lot of time on it. I spent more on the Master System version, trying to complete the damn game. I’m sure it has 50 levels and I managed to get to around Level 35 – 40 once.
So I made a decision…I arranged a cinema trip and roped in some friends. I decided to go see Rampage and see if it lived up to the computer game. Had a McDonalds too…wasn’t too bad but I ended up with a McFlurry without sauce. It goes against one of my golden rules – all McFlurries need sauce, otherwise there is no point, it’s just foamy kiddie ice cream and a few small pieces of chocolate!
Anyway, forgive me, but this is going to be more of a summary than Chokeslam was. I tend to type notes as I go along when I blog, but I couldn’t take my laptop into the cinema (not that this old thing is capable is pirating anything, without the charger the battery life is around eight seconds) and I’m still figuring out how I want to write about films.
I don’t think Rampage really lends itself to note taking really…it’s an action blockbuster with lots of serious science stuff and narrative, if that makes sense. We start off in space where a space station is in chaos as a mutation virus test subject, a rat, is out of control and destroying the station. A lone surviving crew member is able to get the remaining samples to safety but dies during her escape.
Then we meet Davis Okoke (Dwayne Johnson) a peaceful, nature loving primatologist who happens to be a hulking ex soldier. He’s that sort of ‘love animals more than people’ guys, with a history of people issues hinted at. We also meet George, a albino gorilla that Davis rescued after George’s parents were killed. The relationship between Davis and George is actually really well played during the film, a great mixture of humour and sadness and I would argue it is probably the highlight of the film.
What got me about Rampage though was the depth to the plot. The original game is about monsters smashing up cities. The film really gives us a lengthy backstory to how the other animals got mutated (basically, the mutation virus crashed to Earth after the crew member dies and is exposed to a wolf and a crocodile) and how the evil Energyne corporation has been trying to make biological weapons, namely gene altering solutions. I personally found this part of the film really dry – lots of details, characters and laboured explanations. I would rather have story than no story, but I think this part of the plot was too much story.
The mutation virus makes animals grow big and super-aggressive and soon the wolf and the crocodile (named Ralph and Lizzie, like the game) are causing chaos. Davis is able to stop George from causing trouble, but as he calms George down, a team of government agents is able to capture George and load him onto a plane, arresting Davis and former Energyne doctor Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris). Kate had originally been trying to find a cure for her dying brother, but was framed by Energyne and sent to prison.
The government agents are led by Agent Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who bemused me, I’m not sure his ‘sarky southern cowboy’ act really won me over and I reckon the character would be like Marmite to most film watchers. Anyhoo, after Davis saves Russell from a out of control George on the plane, Russell starts to help Davis and Kate, letting them steal a helicopter to chase the mutants to Chicago. Naturally, Davis can fly a plane.
The mutants are heading to Chicago for
All In because Energyne are able to summon them via radio frequency. There’s a lot of ‘because science’ explanations in this film, where the script explains events via miraculous/improbable science. At least Rampage explains things I suppose. The film heads to Chicago where we finally get the mutants destroying the city like in the game…I quite enjoyed these scenes to be honest, they were a cool, modern take on the video game.
As we head to the end of the film, Davis and Kate are able to grab the antidote from Energyne HQ only for the evil boss of the firm to ambush them and shoot Davis. Naturally, Davis survives and him and Kate end up feeding her and the antidote to George. The antidote doesn’t return George to his normal size, it just makes him less aggressive. He’s still aggressive enough to help Davis fight Ralph and Lizzie and the two save the day, just in time for Russell to stop the military nuking Chicago. Handy that….
Verdict – When I left the cinema, My first thought was “This film was a 2.5/5.” I wanted to go higher, for Davis and George’s relationship (I won’t spoil the ending as it’s the best part of the film), but it was such a dry journey to get there. Lots of exposition, lots of backstory to try and understand. Again, I like that the film made an effort to explain these elements of the plot, but I think deep down, I just wanted to want monsters mash up buildings. The effects were good, but nothing awe-inspiring…in short it was a decent film, but nothing amazing and definitely nothing I ever need to see again. As video game films go though, it’s decent…you could definitely do a lot worse.
As for the redress? Well, I really enjoyed my trip to the cinema and it’s definitely something I’m going to do (and blog about) again. Next time though, I’m definitely getting a McFlurry with sauce on it. That’s a mistake I will definitely never make again!