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Rampage (2D/3D)


Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jake Lacy, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Joe Manganiello, P.J. Byrne, Marley Shelton, Jason Liles

Director: Brad Peyton

'We have not just one gigantic, amazing gorilla, we have an immense crocodile that comes out of the swamps of Florida, and an insanely big wolf from the Northwest...and then this big, bald, brown, tattooed guy running around with them.'

So says director Brad Peyton, neatly summing up the riotous storyline concocted by Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal and Adam Sztykiel for his unexpectedly enjoyable outburst of audience-friendly monstrous monkeyshines inspired by a popular arcade game.

(And cineastes seeking subtext are not ignored either since they can happily refer to King Kong, Godzilla and every other giant monster that has stomped the screen since 1925's The Lost World).

So will primatologist Johnson ('Don't call me The Rock', he warned a London audience a while ago) be able save Chicago (and mankind, of course!) from Peyton's colossal monsters?

Were the Warner Bros. brothers?

Splendid special effects enliven the opening incident where capsules of a mutant genetic serum created by experiments on rats being undertaken for a crooked company in a space station end up on earth after the space laboratory explodes.

There the serum infects a wolf, transmuting it into a ravening giant, then transforms a killer crocodile into a giant scaly terror and turns a silverback albino gorilla living in the San Diego Wildlife park into an ever-expanding killer ape...

Serendipitously silverback gorilla George turns out to be Johnson's best friend - the couple are able to communicate with gestures (George even gives Johnson the finger when appropriate) - and that, allied with Johnson's ability to do everything from flying a helicopter to giving US officialdom a hard time when needed, promises salvation to mankind.

Along the way, however, we are generously treated to multiple monstrous mayhem created by the wild wolf, the even wilder crocodile and ever expanding George when they start destroying Chicago in a splendid series of skyscraper-crumbling attacks on the city that make King Kong versus New York Godzilla versus Tokyo seem quite pacifist by comparison.

Johnson does what Johnson does, well aided and abetted by discredited geneticist Harris who is a pleasure to watch and clearly enjoys this opportunity to do something more challenging than simply playing stooge to 007.

Slam-bang storytelling delivers an audience-friendly, rollercoaster-style action and thrills ride whose sole purpose is to entertain - which is exactly what it does.

Alan Frank

USA 2018. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour.
107 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 13 Apr 2018