Rampage Fails to Break Video Game Movie Curse

John Chavez

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Brad Peyton’s “Rampage” barged its way into theaters this past week, and it may not be the monster/action movie patrons were hoping for. The arcade game turned movie is one of the latest attempts by Hollywood to turn video games into watchable movies, which has never been a fruitful endeavor. “Rampage” is no exception here, being full of loud, mindless action, but low on heart and story.

The movie is supposed to be inspired by the 1986 classic arcade video game Rampage. In the game, the players take control of various monsters to wreak havoc on a virtual city and its citizens.

In the movie, staring Dwayne Johnson, an evil corporation’s genetic altering virus is unleashed on three different animals. The virus causes the animals to mutate into giant, super powered versions of themselves, who then begin to attack Chicago. It is up to Johnson’s character two stop them, with the help of his now giant ape friend.

Historically, video game movies have been failures both critically and financially, beginning with “Super Mario Bros.” in 1993. The trend has not improved, with each movie that was inspired by a video game being generally awful, or at the very least, only mildly entertaining.

This unfortunately applies to “Rampage” as well. The film just does not handle it’s own story very well. It fumbles with its characters and is unoriginal in its story line.

While Johnson’s character is well acted, he wears plot armor so thick that he becomes almost invincible in the film. He is able to survive disastrous events, get right up after being shot point blank, and is able to go toe to toe with giant monsters. While action heroes are supposed to exhibit some of this, in this case it just is too much for the audience to believe.

What also is strange is that the movie clearly wants audiences to feel sympathy for some of the rampaging animals, who kill, destroy, and eat various military and innocent bystanders alike.

As far as the story goes, it seems like just yesterday that we had a giant ape fighting a giant lizard, in “Kong Skull island,” so points off for unoriginality there. The movie also features a finally where the heroes must stop the antagonists before the military bombs the city out of sheer frustration, which is the military equivalent of flipping the chess board. This is a common trope in action movies, and also shows a lack of originality in the story.

Overall, there are many better releases coming out in April that are more deserving of audience’s money. With so many bad video game movies coming out of Hollywood, it is only a matter of time before audiences give up and move on to other films. “Rampage” does nothing to help this trend. It is ultimately an empty flick that has more in common with “Transformers,” a bland action movie with little redeeming qualities. 1.5 out of 5 stars.