Rampage Final Battle - Review : DJ MACK

I love dumb cinema as much as the next person. Brainless blockbusters are every bit as necessary in the cinematic landscape as your indies and arthouse flicks, often offering what cinema is best as providing: pure escapism. The likes of Kong: Skull Island, San Andreas and World War Z have been pulpy pieces of popcorn fluff, a solid way to spend around two hours to switch off and take in the on-screen carnage, chaos and CGI explosions. Rampage, however, very much like Gerard Butler's Geostorm last year, is so abysmal that any sense of fun or entertainment is obliterated by completely shambolic, irredeemable and incompetent filmmaking as senseless as it is incoherent. Rampage follows a primatologist named Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), who teams up with an albino gorilla named George who has turned into a raging creature of enormous size following a rogue experiment, in order to stop an invasion of similarly-inflicted monsters. Based on an arcade game, if this science-fiction monster film doesn't wind up being among the very worst films released this year, I want off this cinematic ride immediately.
Plot is usually low on the list of importance for this type of film, yet Rampage really takes advantage of that. As flimsy as it is unintelligible, the film introduces us to a gene manipulation company named Energyne who - for no apparent reason beyond using it as 'biological weapon', also known as the laziest two words strung together in brainless blockbuster history - want to create a virus that turns animals into monsters. Fun, right? Wrong. There's nothing substantial and it exists only to connect set pieces with a profitable action star to swing in and out of to save the day. Set pieces that in themselves are executed with no skill whatsoever; it's like watching money burn, completely wasted. Almost instantly this film crumbles, as destructively as the film's final act. This isn't entertainment; this is pure shoddiness, an embarrassing waste of the filmmakers - and audiences' - time.
The world gives the likes of Melissa McCarthy stick for playing the same character over and over again; yet Dwayne Johnson has now delivered his umpteenth version of 'normal guy becomes the big, muscly hero' and it's getting exhausting now. A few films ago I'd have called it charming but now its repetitive and frustrating, with nothing to set Okoye apart from the other character he has played over the years. OSCAR-NOMINATED Naomie Harris attempts to bring some credibility to the film but even she gives up when she becomes aware of just how awful the film is shaping up to be. On the acting front though, there are two actors who make Johnson and Harris look like Daniel Day-Lewis and Meryl Streep; without being overly-dramatic, Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy give the two worst performances I have seen in a major motion picture in quite some time. It's dreadful. F**king dreadful. They fail to comprehend the meaning of the word 'believable' and play the most textbook 'corporate villains' in the most absurdly abysmal way possible. While the awful dialogue sends them up the creek without a paddle, their performances are the paper boat that sink their element of the film. I cannot express just how shocking these pair are and most ironic is that Lacy gave a pretty fantastic performance as a bad American actor in Their Finest last year; he's worse here than he was there, when he was giving a purposely bad performance. The Razzies should have a field day with this film, and this pair, next year.
San Andreas was little to boast about but Brad Peyton's work here makes that look like Oscar-fodder. As the senseless CGI overload occurs on screen, it's as incoherent visually as it is narratively. Worsened by some shocking editing that can't even piece together simple sequences, there's no focus or rhythm to any of the 107 minute and it descends into a complete jumble where you can't see the wood for the trees. They land on a half-decent shot every now and then (BatWolf, anyone?), but at what cost? Narrative beats are shockingly predictable and even worse when they eventually arrive -- more daringly, it's soulless, joyless even. Rampage is utterly atrocious filmmaking that everyone involved with should be embarrassed by. There's being dumb fun and then there's being flat-out dumb and Rampage is as awful as the disastrous Geostorm, the two worst films to disgrace our cineplex(s) in six months. Calling Rampage 'hot garbage' would be paying it a compliment. It's even stupider than it looks and if you raise so much as a smile, you managed more than I did. I never want to be subjected to Rampage again; I'd sooner be crushed by a giant albino monkey.

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