Rampage hits cinemas this week, and you might be surprised to learn it’s based on a popular video game. Gaming novice Alex Casey saw the film without playing the game, gaming expert Sam Brooks played the game and refuses to see the movie.
I’m no expert on gaming, giant monkeys or crisis management, but I think that Rampage (2018) the would be extremely challenging to win if it was a video game. Look, If Dwayne Johnson struggles to prosper in this universe, there sure as shit isn’t any luck for the rest of us. Based on watching the movie and knowing absolutely nothing about the game on which it is based, I present my understanding of what RAMPAGE: THE GAME is. Spoilers will flow forth like the drool of a 30ft wolf from here on in.
Like all good things, we begin in space. The first challenge is to dodge the dead bodies and GIANT SPIKY RAT (perhaps the boss?) that are floating around your spaceship. Nightmare! Once you’ve successfully navigated death-rat-alley, secure some scientific looking samples made by your evil overlords into a protective chamber thing. Blast yourself away from the corpse rocket and the spiky rat. Scatter all the samples across the Earth like salt bae before you die in a ball of flames. Hold down all the buttons to meet George Clooney’s corpse from Gravity.
Oh no, the science samples you have scattered across the Earth have been eaten by an albino gorilla named George in a sanctuary, a crocodile in the Everglades and a wolf in wherever Twilight happened. Hopefully that will all be fine! You are now primatologist Dwayne Johnson, by the way. Attempt to calm your gorilla friend with one of the many different settings of one of the many inexplicable watches on your wrists.
Uh oh, the science samples have made all the animals big. And not just Kelly Tarlton’s bus big. Really big. You, Dwayne, are now on handcuffed on a plane with a sedated huge gorilla, your love interest, and Javier Bardem, government official. Wink at your crush for extra points and DO NOT WAKE THE GORILLA UP.
Uh-oh, the gorilla woke up and tore his way out of his cage, and proceeded to bring the plane down from the air from within. If you survive this part, I will be very surprised and impressed.
You somehow survived that?! All of the humongous animals are now traipsing their way through Chicago, three lads on what is frankly a huge night on the town. You, Dwayne, have to find the antidote with your love interest to chill the lads out. The antidote is called “RPG” for a bit of a laugh. The 30ft wolf has huge wings like a sugar glider now, by the way. It’s just science.
You survived the fracas and distributed the antidote, but have also just realised that the government official is not played by Javier Bardem at all, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Die of shame and spend the rest of your night watching emotional Denny montages on Youtube. Rampage.
The trailer for Rampage has been playing before other films I actually want to see for what feels like a hundred years at this point. Every time I see it, I turn to whoever I’m with (given my limited social circle, this is always the same person) and exclaim, “This is nothing like the video game!” They are surprised to learn it is based on a video game, which is fair because there hasn’t been a Rampage game in about ten years, and I think most people who have played Rampage actually played it on popular/problematic free game site Newgrounds.
For the uneducated, this is what the video game Rampage, released back in 1986 – the same year, of course, that Geraldine Page won the Oscar for her career-capping role in A Trip to Bountiful – looked like.
That’s it. You play as a gorilla, a wolf or a lizard that is for legal reasons absolutely not Godzilla, and you destroy things. There is no The Rock, there is no Naomie Harris slumming it, there is nothing about the game reflected in the movie except three large creatures who have a justifiable need to destroy the civilization that made a Rampage film.
Ten years later, it would be followed by Rampage: World Tour, which attempted to put a plot into the game, but you basically still played as one of three monsters who want to destroy things, but this time the reason given was science gone awry. This is why I believe in astrology you guys. How often does astrology go wrong and create rampaging creatures?
That was then followed by Rampage: Universal Tour, which added a large rhino, a large mouse and most terrifyingly, a large monster. Here is the cover image, should you wish to never sleep again:
Rampage Through Time added a large warthog. I will not share the image here because you don’t need that in your life any more than I do. A game in 2006 followed, but nobody played it because by 2006 the novelty of knocking down buildings had become a little bit gauche and maybe offensive in a post-9/11 world?
So why on earth do we need a Rampage film in 2018? Especially one that completely subverts the premise of the games, which is that the protagonists (if you can call mindless, genetically-mutated monsters protagonists) destroy things? Unless The Rock is playing one of those monsters, which by all accounts he’s not.
Why adapt this property? Why bring Rampage into 2018 at all? Is it a known enough brand to do this to it? Why deface this property like this? Why do I care? Is it because video game movies have a hard enough time as it is that every time it feels like there’s a bad one, which is more or less all of the non-Tomb Raider ones, it messes up things for what should be one of the cleanest and easiest adaptations between medium?
This is too much thought to put into Rampage at all. I’m done.
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