ALEX SCHADRIE | ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST
Editor’s Note: Some spoilers ahead.
For the most part, humans are considered the highest animals on the food chain, but what would happen if certain animals suddenly make a huge leap? Inspired by the 1986 arcade game of the same name, “Rampage” is about three animals that are infected by pathogens from canisters that fell from space. As a result of exposure to the pathogen, the animals start to increase in size, mutate extra features and become really, really angry. Some of the well-known stars that are in this film include Dwayne Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Åkerman and Joe Manganiello.
“Rampage” starts in a research space station called Athena-1, where a woman named Kerry Atkins (Marley Shelton) is the only living crew member. After reaching the lab and obtaining the pathogen samples, Atkins heads back to the escape pod, when she is chased by a giant, mutant rat. Just before the rat can grab her, Atkins gets into the escape pod and escapes just before the space station blows up. Even though Atkins was able to escape, the escape pod blows up due to scratches that the rat made in the window and the pathogen canisters fall to Earth.
Back on Earth, Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), a primatologist at the San Diego Zoo, is examining how a new gorilla is adjusting to being with the other gorillas. After a man is nearly attacked by an albino gorilla named George, Okoye uses sign language to tell George that he should try to make the new gorilla feel more at home. Later that night, the pathogen canisters crash on Earth and the pathogen is released, which not only infects George, but also a wolf in Wyoming and a crocodile in Florida. The next morning, Davis arrives at the zoo and learns that George was found in the grizzly bear enclosure, where Davis notices a dead grizzly bear and a larger George. After moving George into a larger cage, Davis meets Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris), a genetic engineer that used to work for a company called Energyne.
While Kate explains that Energyne created the pathogen to rewrite genes in order to create biological weapons, George starts to get angry and escape from the cage. Despite Okoye managing to calm him down, George is drugged and captured by a government agency. After being taken to a plane and meeting Agent Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Davis learns more about Kate and why she got fired from Energyne. Meanwhile Claire Wyden (Malin Åkerman), the CEO of Energyne, sends a group of mercenaries to retrieve the pathogen canister in Wyoming, which ends with all of them getting killed by a giant wolf. Even though the mercenaries failed, Claire has another plan up her sleeve and that plan involves using a transmitter that releases a frequency that will draw both George and the wolf straight to the Energyne building in Chicago.
Once the transmitter is activated, George wakes up and starts attacking everyone on the plane, which causes the plane to crash. After managing to parachute out, Russell radios for help while Kelly tells Davis that there might be a cure at Energyne. Upon arriving at the base, Davis and Kelly steal a helicopter so that they could try to beat George and the wolf to Chicago. Unfortunately, not only were they too late to beat the first two monsters, but Kelly notices that there is a giant, mutated crocodile swimming towards the Energyne building as well.
As a whole, the plot for “Rampage” not only goes a little beyond the arcade game, but there were several scenes that made this film entertaining. Aside from Dwayne Johnson and Jeffrey Dean Morgan being cast in perfect roles, the character of George displayed so many human like qualities that made him such a sympathetic character. Despite having several action packed scenes, there were a still a few slow and outrageous moments like how the government didn’t realize that there was a giant crocodile along with a giant gorilla and giant wolf, despite the fact that the creature swam past several boats. So whether you like movies based on video games, want to see giant animals cause a lot of destruction or just see a gorilla flip off Dwayne Johnson (yes this is in the movie), then “Rampage” is the perfect film for you.