Rampage Movie Dissected

Will Amos, Senior Reporter

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So, Hollywood is making another movie based on a video game and the director is the same director of the meh San Andreas, Brad Peyton. What video game? Why Rampage, the classic kaiju simulator where the goal is to destroy all buildings in the area.

The series has had two classic arcade installments along with a few other console games. The only good console game was the most recent, Rampage: Total Destruction. The idea behind the original 1986 Rampage was to use vertical scrolling to its advantage. At the time, horizontal scrolling was hard to animate on the scale of graphics the original was using. With this in mind, the developers thought about being the villains and destroying skyscrapers and other tall buildings. It dawned on them quite fast to use the idea of giant monsters as the characters and as the basis of the game. While I can’t say much about the original (as I have yet to play it), it was good enough to get a sequel in 1997, 11 years later. Rampage: World Tour is a delight to play with all three players at the helm destroying everything in sight. Rampage: Total Destruction is the same way, but with only two players because of the limitations of 3D gaming at the time.

Regardless, the story of every game revolves around Scum Laboratories and something they do causes, at minimum, three people to mutate into kaiju in the process; mayhem ensues. For the first game, each character had something random happen to them independently of what was going on, like someone swimming in a radioactive lake. For World Tour, they were all technicians at Scum Labs when an explosion goes off at a laboratory. For Total Destruction, Scum Labs is trying to make a soda and testing it out in the same vein as the Pepsi challenge. When all 30 test subjects tried it, they mutated into various 50-feet tall creatures. The science team froze a decent amount of them in cryogenic pods, but some like the series staple, George, was still free and they go off to free the rest.

All of these (mostly Total Destruction’s story) would have made for funny B-movie-esqe kaiju films. This would be something like Mel Brooks directing his own version of Pacific Rim. I don’t know about any of you, but that would be a blast to watch. Instead, the screenwriters behind this film thought it would be good to drag Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson kicking and screaming into this. The two trailers tell the story of Johnson’s character and how he isn’t a people person. He prefers animals, like George, an albino silverback gorilla Dwayne saved when George was two years old. Suddenly, a canister lands in George’s pin one night and starts to genetically mutate him (which the film stupidly calls “genetic editing” like we’re all five years old). The trailers then throw the other two monsters Lizzie (a giant dinosaur that is now labeled a “crocodile”) and Ralph (a giant wolf) onto the screen, because it seems like they didn’t know how to organically inject them into this derp-fest. Oh, and because of “genetic editing” Ralph now has odd underarm wings. This could be a reference to how in World Tour the player could mash the jump button mid-air to extend the length of their jumps, but I sincerely doubt they cared enough to do that.

The only decent element in both trailers is the destruction on display. The idea behind how the three main monsters came to exist is quite lazy and feels cliche without such a cliche existing. The worst part is how easy it would be to make a good Rampage movie. Dreamworks’ Monsters VS Aliens (for as bad as it is) pulls the idea off better with it’s main protagonist just without the destructive and evil fun that comes with the gameplay of the series. They could have even copied Total Destruction’s story verbatim, but it’s not serious enough for the movie-going public. Regardless, please don’t go watch this likely disaster on April 20th when it comes out. It reeks of a hatred for the original source material, much like Max Payne before it.

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Rampage Movie Dissected