”RAMPAGE”-Directed by Brad Peyton
Nobody asked for a movie adaptation of the cult 80s arcade game Rampage. Well, okay, that’s not exactly true. Anyone who’s ever played the arcade classic has been secretly hoping for a movie remake – even so, we’re pretty sure that the 2018 film wasn’t what they had in mind. It’s not that the movie isn’t a fun, action-packed end of the world adventure. After all, director Brad Peyton admitted to watching Predator at least 365 times, and the film was a big influence on Rampage. It’s just that there’s so much more from the source material that they could’ve used to make it a more unique and interesting film.
Dwayne Johnson plays primatologist Davis Okoye who rescues a baby gorilla, names him George, and then cares for him until adulthood. The two share a tight bond that’s communicated through sign language and the occasional traumatic gorilla prank. Meanwhile, an illegal and top-secret corporate research station operating in Earth’s orbit accidentally drops canisters of dangerous DNA-altering chemicals, and one of them ends up in George’s gorilla enclosure. Exposure to the chemicals causes George to become larger and more aggressive until he goes full King Kong. Along the way, Okoye and George meet secret government agents, evil scientists, and the other animals-turned-monsters who got a whiff of the DNA-altering chemicals from space. Apart from a few funny surprises, that’s really all there is to it. As Gamespot’s scathing review asks, what else did you expect?
As anyone who’s familiar with the arcade game’s insane backstory knows, there could have been a lot more from a movie based on Rampage. Arcade Museum looked back at the 80s b-movie plot behind the classic game and found that the three rampaging monsters were in fact originally people exposed to dangerous chemicals. George swallows mega vitamins that mutate him into a giant ape. Ralph eats ‘scam sausage’ which mutates him into a giant werewolf. Lizzie bathes in a lake that turns out to be radioactive, turning her into a giant lizard monster. The goal is to destroy several cities without getting stopped by tanks, cops, or National Guardsmen. Arcade History reports that the original arcade game has an impressive 768 different levels.
The producers could’ve banked on the game’s already rich b-movie lore and inherent ridiculousness to create a genuinely nostalgic and hilarious experience. Instead, 2018’s Rampage concocts its own bland b-movie lore, occasionally making us laugh in the process, but ultimately failing at its attempt to still be a serious movie. Considering the still rampant popularity of the big monster genre, pursuing the game’s plot could have turned the movie into a huge success. Since the original King Kong the giant, uncontrollable monster has been a staple of not just blockbuster movies, but also in television, real-life monster hunts, and even video games.
To this day, people can’t get enough of giant monsters. Kong: Skull Island, Pacific Rim, and the 2005 King Kong remake are just some of the most recent and popular movies involving gigantic city-destroying beasts. Our love of monster destruction is best shown through the video game Peter Jackson’s King Kong that allows you to play as King Kong himself – a fun and immersive experience for any monster fan.
Foxy Bingo has several games based on classic popular franchises, including Mighty Kong, which uses imagery from what looks very similar to the original Kong movie.
The popularity of these monsters allows them to be featured in a wide array of cultural platforms. There’s even talk of a new series called King Kong Skull Island that will revolve around the origins of King Kong’s home as well as the different monsters that dwell on it.
People still love and crave anything that involves giant monsters attacking cities. But somehow, even with its big Hollywood budget, Rampage fails to capitalize on this obsessive nostalgia and manages to be just another CGI-heavy end-of-the-world movie – fun to watch and laugh at, but nothing to really blog home about.