Loud video game movie has its funny moments

America is great place! Where else could a wacky wrestler become one of the biggest movie stars in the world?

About the film
As “The Rock” in World Wrestling Entertainment, Dwayne Johnson became a superstar. Then it didn’t take long for him to conquer movies and TV; now he’s internationally renown.
But stardom wasn’t instant. He kept wrestling and making second-tier movie appearances.
Then the world suddenly became All-Rock, All-the-Time.
As Hobbs in Fast Five (2011, MM #928, 5), Johnson entered the colossal Fast and the Furious franchise.
Hobbs was so popular that he will soon get his own movie, Hobbs and Shaw due in 2019.
Aside from the Fast and the Furious successes, Johnson has become one of the most bankable worldwide stars.
San Andreas (2015, MM #1142, 5) was a hit with a total take of $474 million. Central Intelligence (2016) took in $217.2 million internationally. Moana (2016, MM #1230, 7) was huge, too, at $643 million worldwide.
(The Movie Man thought Hercules [2014, MM #1098, 6] was fun, but he’s in the minority there.)
Last summer’s Baywatch misfired, but Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (MM #1286, 7) was a beast at $955 million.
And the guy does not slow down. He’s has two more movies this year – Fighting with My Family and Skyscraper.
Even if Rampage gets crushed by Avengers: Infinity War in two weeks, it won’t be because of Johnson – he’s the rare guy loved by women and men.
Then, in the near future, there’s San Andreas 2; Jumanji 2; superhero Black Adam; and, in ideal casting, Doc Savage.

The plot
Okoye (Johnson) is a primate specialist who, earlier, was a special forces soldier. He is pals with gorilla George, and they share a special bond.
When a DNA-alternating experiment in space goes wrong, a trio of canisters containing gas falls to earth. George, a wolf, and an alligator get whiffs and become huge and violent.
Johnson teams with gas-creater Dr. Caldwell (Naomie Harris) and, uneasily, with government agent Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
Evil corporation head Wyden (Malin Akerman) lures the three monsters to her high-rise in Chicago via sound.
Johnson, Harris, and Morgan must figure out how to stop the rampaging monsters before the military drops a huge bomb on downtown Chicago.

What works
Johnson remains the coolest guy around. He’s straight-up funny, and you totally believe his hand communications with George.
An early scene – highlighted in the coming attraction – of George faking being menacing to a terrified human then laughing – “Him not laugh. Him cry.” – is hilarious.
Another standout is Morgan who almost steals the movie. His country drawl – mimicking Tommy Lee Jones – delivers some deadpan zingers.
The computer generation is good with the creatures. George looks super and there are a couple of exceptional shots of the gigantic alligator.
Best scene (spoiler)
The movie remarks on how much of a smart-aleck George is, and he pulls off the biggest practical joke at the end of the movie. He fakes being dead, revels in tricking everyone, then shoots Johnson the bird.
Yes, it’s juvenile and stupid – and the Movie Man and Movie Boy got a big laugh out of the scene.

What doesn’t work
Rampage can’t decide whether it’s campy or serious. The funny scenes are far more effective.
The opening sequence in space is pretty cool, but it’s deadly serious.
Then comes the “him not laugh” scene which feels like a completely different movie.
There are long stretches of seriousness then goofy scenes out of the blue.
Like most superhero movies, after you’ve seen 100 buildings smashed, things get a little bit old.

The rating
Here’s another movie with more cussing than normal.
And there’s the sophomoric gestures of George, not to mention some serious mayhem and destruction.
So, the PG-13 is right – in fact, it’s tougher than normal.

Summing up
The Movie Man, like most folks, is a big fan of Johnson, and he is the reason to catch Rampage along with Morgan.

Next up
The Movie Man will present a detailed essay on the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War – catching up on the story line, Infinity Stones whereabouts, etc.