The main attraction of Rampage, the big-screen adaptation of the 1980s arcade game, is its star, wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He plays a soldier-turned-primatologist whose bond with an albino gorilla named George hits a snag when a science experiment goes wrong, and George mutates into a destructive giant.
Since Rampage is primarily a star vehicle for Johnson, critics’ responses to the movie seemed to depend heavily on their opinion of The Rock. EW’s Chris Nashawaty, for instance, admits, “I honestly want to be a Dwayne Johnson fan, but the guy doesn’t make it easy” in his C- review of the film. By contrast, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Justin Lowe praised Johnson’s range: “By now it’s pretty apparent that Johnson has the ability to transform into almost any type of character, as long it’s a large and muscular one. Scorpion King, helicopter-flying firefighter, jungle-trekking archaeologist, uber-lifeguard, ex-football player (that’s for real, though), or Polynesian deity, Johnson has played them all. So impersonating a scientist for Rampage seems almost a demotion in stature, until it becomes clear that like some hero of an ancient myth, he’ll have to confront these demons alone in single combat.”
Check those out below, along with a sampling of other Rampage reviews. The Brad Peyton-directed film hits theaters this weekend.
Chris Nashawaty (Entertainment Weekly)
“But alas, this is a movie about one haunted gentle giant’s bond with another haunted gentle giant. And it never makes up its mind whether it wants to be a what-hath-science-wrought disaster movie like those old John Sayles cheapie classics Piranha and Alligator, or just a big, dumb, and loud tongue-in-cheek action comedy. It’s a movie that’s afraid to pick a lane. Then again, maybe it doesn’t have to. After all, Johnson seems to have a seemingly bottomless reserve of goodwill with moviegoers. I’m happy for him. But if he’s not careful, it may run out sooner than he thinks.”
Glenn Kenny (The New York Times)
“As for Mr. Johnson, one hesitates to level a charge of ‘phoning it in’ against him. He’s a generally reliable performer, but I have to say it seems he had less fun here than he did in the recent Jumanji. The special effects are only distinguished by a peculiar concern for verisimilitude — the initially snowy George gets really dirty on his way to Chicago, while the unnamed giant wolf appears to be suffering from mange.”
Justin Lowe (The Hollywood Reporter)
“Whatever character he’s playing, though, there’s no denying Johnson’s abundant charisma and brawny brand of self-deprecating humor. So even if this is fairly mindless popcorn entertainment, The Rock’s unfailing enthusiasm and poise should help Warner Bros. deliver solid domestic returns, while internationally Rampage could see an even stronger response.”
Peter Debruge (Variety)
However derivative it may be, Rampage knows its audience — namely, Transformers fans and kids born after 9/11 for whom elaborately orchestrated scenes of falling skyscrapers carry nary a whiff of real-world trauma (it’s a lot harder to stomach for those who can remember the smell that permeated Lower Manhattan after the Twin Towers collapsed). What director Peyton lacks in artistic vision he compensates for in his ability to wrangle such a CG-intensive production, which is more than can be said for such WB favorites as David Yates (The Legend of Tarzan) and Zack Snyder (Justice League).”
Michael McWhertor (Polygon)
“Once Rampage gets going it moves at a breezy clip, and, save for a drag of mid-film exposition, doesn’t let up. That’s for the better, because there’s little in the way of twists or turns for the actual story of Rampage; it’s all about payoff. It’s not whether Chicago, the scene of the film’s biggest set piece, will be destroyed — but just how extravagantly it will be destroyed.”
Scott Mendelson (Forbes)
“By default, and also by design, Rampage is probably the most objectively ‘good’ video game-based movie we’ve ever had. It works both as a somewhat faithful adaptation of the source material but prioritizes being a good and splashy kid-friendly adventure over rigid source fidelity. It’s got a fun cast, an unexpectedly generous amount of animal-vs.-building carnage and works both as an intense monster movie and a campy creature feature. It’s not an exact comparison, but if Avengers: Infinity War is The Phantom Menace than Rampage is The Mummy. And, yeah, I darn well mean that as a compliment.”