MOVIE REVIEW: Rampage rallies when The Rock gets on a roll
Rating: two and a half stars (2.5 out of 5)
Director: Brad Peyton (San Andreas)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, Jason Liles.
Cling to the Rock and don't let go
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson has just stepped off the biggest box-office hit of his career as a leading man ($1.25bn for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), so the big fella could be excused for coasting through his next few movies.
However, as we all should know by now, The Rock doesn't have an 'autopilot' setting. Which is just as well for Rampage, a formulaic action-adventure affair loosely inspired by an 80s video game.
The mega-popular man-mountain stars as Davis Okoye, the world's finest ape-whisperer tasked with saving Chicago from a certain trashing by a giant albino gorilla named George.
Davis and the monster primate used to be best buds at the local zoo. That was until George huffed a top-secret hormone that turned him into King Kong's taller, wider and angrier cousin.
George now runs with a gnarly gang that includes a flying wolf, and an alligator the size of a nuclear sub.
Need I go on? For a screenplay with four writers credited, Rampage sure is skimpy with the kind of stuff that gets you scratching your head and thinking "yeah, that could happen."
Villains and love interests (heck, let's just say it - anyone who isn't The Rock) are also a let-down here.
Malin Akerman plays Claire Wyden, a conniving corporate go-getter whose company intends to weaponise the wonder drug that has turned George and pals into city-wrecking circus freaks.
For such a significant figure in proceedings, the character of Claire has precious little to do in the movie than say something bitchy occasionally, and stick around until she gets what's coming to her in the flame-out of a finale.
Poor Naomie Harris (Moonlight) fares even worse as Dr Kate Caldwell, a former Wyden Inc. scientist who says all the sciencey stuff that The Rock as Davis just doesn't have the time or energy to say.
If any member of the bland support cast registers here at all, it is only Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a grumpy government spook who secretly digs the I-can-talk-to-the-animals heroics of Davis.
The whole movie is as dumb as a brick, sillier than words can say, and a smidge more fun that it really should be due to the irrepressible enthusiasm of Johnson.