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Rampage (PG-13)

Action/Adventure 107 min. April 13, 2018
By Amy Nicholson
There are ludicrous constructions, say a 30-foot wolf crossbred with spider, bat and bug DNA. And then there's Rampage's Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson as a misanthropic Special Forces soldier-turned-primatologist. Years ago in Rwanda, Davis (Johnson) murdered poachers who were terrorizing a baby albino gorilla with dreamy Zac Efron eyes. Today, Davis and the full-grown ape, George (performed in motion capture by Jason Liles), trade solemn fist-bumps and sign-language dirty jokes.

Buy that, and you'll have no problem with the rest of Rampage's plot, which includes a hand-severing space rat, a Ph.D geneticist/ex-con/love interest (Naomie Harris) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a government agent with the kind of cranked-to-11 phony southern accent usually only heard when a Connecticut carpetbagger runs for governor of Texas. "This ol' cowboy!" he says of himself. Twice.

George gets mutated thanks to the monster-making green gas owned by evil Energyne CEO Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman bedimmed by a brunette dye job) and her chin-dimpled, doltish brother Brett (the terrifically funny Jake Lacy), who had nearly cured cancer with a gene-altering concoction named CRISPR when Claire realized she'd make more money selling giant killer rats.

Rampage the movie is so oblivious to what made the game fun that Claire could have missed the connection. Rampage was a verb -- you slid into the creatures' skin and personally wrecked Peoria. (And when the soldiers shot you down, you shrunk into a naked human and scurried off the screen.) But director Brad Peyton sides with the guys with guns. He doesn't put us with the behemoths feeling their confusion and rage; we're above them in drones.
Brad Peyton Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello, Jeffrey Dean Morgan Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal, Adam Sztykiel Warner Bros.

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