Film · Review

Rampage Review – Ham meets hammier

Hiya, sorry I haven’t posted in the last week. The new play I’ve directed is premiering today so my schedule has been packed completely full of rehearsals, now at least I only have to turn up to the theatre at 5, my days can be my own. Imma write about the experience to go up this weekend but for now there’ll be some shorter reviews for the past two weeks new releases that I missed out on. Thanks for sticking with me, normal service will be resumed come the release of Avengers, I sure as hell ain’t missing out on those hits.

Enjoy some brief thoughts on Rampage and the vapidity of capitalist art.

Y’all know, maybe waiting for a while before writing a Rampage review was a good call. Stops me from making any embarrassing mistakes. I really liked this flick, y’know. It were pulpy and anonymous in that way that franchiseless action movies (and the Dark Universe) manage to be.

There’s something to be said for them maybe, I think the last time we had all the extended family together for some holiday we ended up watching previous Brad Peyton/Dwayne Johnson vehicle, San Andreas. The time before it we chose that Independence Day sequel. I mean, both of these are legit bad choices and I argued against them but there’s a reason they got picked. There is a purity to their form, an absence of affect. Their grasping, naked, capitalist desire to make a lot of fucking money is easily legible in the way all the edges are sanded off.

All these films don’t even need a title really, they’re just ‘Entertainment Product’. The perfect, inoffensive distillation of pop culture, the thing that eveyone can agree will probably be ‘okay’ even if they know deep down that it probably isn’t.

That’s not to disparage the efforts of the filmmakers who operate under these conditions. Life’s hard in general but I’m willing to bet that making a two hour action tentpole is a pretty big stress. But it’s gotta be strange aiming your sights at this target, weirdly in flux, and knowing that the quality of your work is probably less consequential to the people at the top than the poster that’s going to be hung in every theatre lobby with a big Johnson on it.

Sure, capitalism sucks in general, the things it does to art and artists are unconscionable but fuck me, capitalist art is facinating. There is no sane universe in which this movie would make sense. We live in insane times though, the movie’s actually pretty good.

It goes that evil corporte chemicals have transformed three normal animals into enormous mutants. One of them happens to be the gorilla friend of Dwayne’s zookeeper primatologist character Davis. In order to cover their tracks the evil, yet clumsy and oafish, CEOs devise a plan to lure all the beasts to one location where in order for the army to effectively dispatch them. Can Davis, with the help of a fired scientist (Naomie Harris), save his misunderstood friend before the bomb drops?

Of course he can, he the fucking Rock. Like all these joints the film finds detail in its contradictions, like the businessmen all knowing, all powerful, idiot fuckups. The army, too violent, always seeking the easy way out but who are noble, honourable and respectful. Even the science itself is two handed at some points evil and inhumane, we should all return to nature; but it’s often cool ya know, science and shit, big ape.

What is there to talk about other than that, the scenes of destruction are well executed, the monsters are fun and likeable. I was never awed or scared by the film but then again I weren’t expecting to be. The flick is as tasteless as the system that produced it, it’s really a wonder that we get good films at all.

Rampage is currently screening in UK cinemas.

I ain't even know what he's holding

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