George leaves the jungle and goes on a reckless romp through the cityWARNER BROS PICTURES

It has been forty-eight hours since I saw Rampage. It is now but a smear on my memory’s lens, little more than a reminder of a Monday aft22ernoon spent in a darkened room with a friend. It was, however, a darkened room fitted with a ginormous cinema screen and a stonking set of speakers turned up slightly too loud. The combination of such an environment and Rampage may not have allowed any details of the film itself to become lodged in, let alone turned over by, my brain, yet the faint sense of two hours enjoyed certainly lingers.

Rampage is a film, therefore, which given a certain mood, a certain setting, and a certain indulgence, has the capacity to make one happy in the moment. I can easily imagine, on the other hand, that many of its viewers will come to the end of 2018 having entirely forgotten that they had even seen the thing. 

"Will most likely not even change your week"

Enough money has evidently been spent on the film for the special effects to be essentially convincing, but the crashes, bangs and wallops, particularly during the overblown final fight sequence, lack the critical sense of peril which might have elicited a gasp or a wince. Rampage boasts some cracking roars and screeches, but the physical carnage barely provides the base thrills which ought to have been its bread and butter.

This is a far greater niggle than the monumentally clot-headed narrative, which begins with a space station exploding and a canister happening to find its way back to Earth and landing precisely inside a gorilla enclosure at a zoo in San Diego. The presence of an alligator which can take out a whole floor of an office building with one swish of its tail should be enough for an unconvincing story to become irrelevant; in Rampage, this is never quite the case. 


An excruciating exchange of ‘banter’ between The Rock and his gargantuan primate pal at the very end aside, Rampage is more funny than it is thrilling. It is funny, moreover, in an endearing way, with small touches, an exaggerated scream, for instance, or a subtle fist pump, lending the film a rollicking, pantomime atmosphere which neatly distracts from the myriad flaws present in the script. Jeffrey Dean Morgan steals the show, and then holds it to ransom, drawling zinger after zinger and highlighting the mugging which seems to characterise the remainder of the cast’s performances. 


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Rampage is ramshackle, and occasionally frustrates as a result. Three characters, each with fine comedic potential, are introduced at the beginning, yet disappear once George the Gorilla starts his exponential growth spurt. Elsewhere, however, the knowing wink at the audience proves more than sufficient to render a remarkably simple escape from an army base entertaining rather than infuriating. Rampage does not have intelligence, but it does have charm, and enough of it to ward off tuts and sighs.

Rampage will not change your life, and will most likely not even change your week, but if the vague sense of time reasonably well spent appeals, then it is worth a foray to the biggest big screen within easy reach

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