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Monday, June 18, 2018

Rampage movie adaptation is one fun movie

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Rampage (2018) is a movie where giant creatures clash at one another as they are endowed with rage and aggression. The movie stars as Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) who plats Davis Okoye, a primatologist, who's best friend, George (Jason Liles), is an albino gorilla who Okoye saved from poachers.

The movie is loosely based on the games with the same title by Midway Games, which was released (1898-2000) and then was taken over by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment at present.

The movie's lore that in the early 90s gene editing became a possibility and initially it was the great wave of science for the future. However, gene editing also was risking and there were chances it could do more harm than good so it was eventually outlawed.

We start in space in a secret facility, where a company called Energyne still runs illegal experiments of gene testing. Something has gone terribly wrong and we see dead bodies.

The sole survivor is a female scientist, Dr. Kerry Atkins (Marley Shelton), who says she will head to an escape pod but her boss and CEO of Energyne, the ruthless Claire Wyden (Malin Åkerman), says she cannot leave the research labs without the sample they developed. Atkins goes back and does retrieve the sample and we see an overgrown and mutated rat that is attacking her. Her pod is flung into the earth and the developed pathogens land in Wyoming, where a wolf is exposed to it, to a crocodile in the Everglades and unfortunately to George.

This is where the title makes sense; after being exposed to the pathogens, George the gentle giant, becomes more gargantuan in size and filled with inexplicable hunger and rage. Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harries), an employee at Energyne who helped developed this pathogen says it was a complex form of gene editing that she wanted to use to help people with but Energyne may have just want to weaponize it.

Soon, George and the Wolf start a rampage around places and start going to the Energyne base as Wyden has scripted it with radio frequency manipulation. Joining to stop George and the other creatures is Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who works for the government and is meant to neutralize the situation.

The movie explores different tangents but it has cohesion. Caldwell is critiqued by Okoye for making such an outlawed serum for gene editing but Caldwell does honestly confess she thought she was doing right by humans and the world. Energyne has less scruples about what they wish to do and Wyden makes this clear: humans are expendable but the money she will make from this rampage formula is not.

The ruthlessness of Wyden is shown to be human greed rather than the ruthlessness of the animals who are poor victims of chemical stimulants. The movie makes us question who are the actual monsters? Before the event, George was Okoye's best friend and they could speak in sign language. The drugs still make him recognize Okoye but he becomes confused, scared and in turn aggressive as the drug takes its control.

Okoye also explains he is a bit of a misanthrope because he seen poachers and he saved George who would be another prize in the market. Okoye does not look at humanity with optimism because humans take and take, and have no qualms in being selfish.

The Rampage drug seems to be enforce his beliefs but he is a human too who wants to help. So, the equation is not that simple. Okoye is determined throughout the movie to try to save George but also wrestle with the sad truth that his friend may now be a husk and may not be able to saved. This pains him immensely as he has to make decisions that run at a contradiction to his bond and friendship with George.

Caldwell seems to be a beacon of hope towards humanity as she does question science and how it must be practiced with ethics. She had made the serum hoping to help humans and other species and she had no desire to weaponize it and sell it as a money-making machine.

She also is kind and empathizes with Okoye's plight and feels terrible in being partly responsible in orchestrating a situation where Okoye may have to kill his best friend.  She also knows loss and understands it. She and Okoye bond throughout the movie because they come to respect one another.

The movie has a lot of action sequences and visually crisp CGI moments. It has humor and it also paced with emotional moments. The large creatures rampaging through towns and forests is actually a spectacle to watch. The movie balances itself with moments of emotion with hard edged moments of violence and aggression.

It does its best to work with a game, which was initially known to be just large creatures battling one another and causing mayhem.

Overall, Rampage is an entertaining movie. It has something for family and friends and it is a well written movie for its genre. It is something to watch with others and just have a good time and feel some of the emotional moments of the movie.


The writer is working with The Asian Age

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