Monday, 23 April, 2018

Malin Akerman on playing the villain in Rampage

Brad Peyton at Rampage premiere Dwayne Johnson rules out 2020 US presidential bid
Pete Mitchell | 13 April, 2018, 06:13

Is it really based on the old video game where the monsters punch buildings?

A number of things should be obvious: it's King Kong with the mutation ideas from the rebooted Planet of the Apes, scaled up like Transformers and Godzilla so the creatures can trash whole cities.

Splendidly silly in places, with its fondness for giant monster movies obvious, this popcorn extravaganza swerves haphazardly between knowing humour and a heartfelt warning about the plague of capitalism, occasionally forgetting the fun. It's still mutated monsters running wild. The pathogens get loose in the world, infecting a gator in Florida, a wolf in the Rockies, and a gorilla at the San Diego zoo where Davis Okoye (Johnson) supervises the animals. "George" is a rare albino Silverback gorilla that Okoye rescued as a baby when poachers killed his family.

The only objective this character trait serves is so that his young male fans won't go, "Ew, girls".

What does strike you early on though is just how violent the filmmakers have made this movie. Won't this alienate them? Unfortunately for George, he's about to come into contact with some rogue genetic experiment which has just hit Earth from a smashed-up craft in outer space.

Malin Akerman filmed all of her scenes in this location.

Okoye teams with Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) to try to figure out what has happened to George and prevent him (as well as the wolf and croc) from causing damage throughout the country. Johnson, who usually dwarfs his co-stars, this time gets to feel small.

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While Johnson's character is the brawn leading the fight against the unleashed beasts, Harris' Caldwell provides the brains - a former employee of the Wydens who has inside knowledge of their dealing as well as having her own personal invested interest in bringing the siblings down. Super Mario Brothers and Street Fighter: The Movie had wildly convoluted plots to justify the adaptation.

I legitimately think it does, yeah.

Ralph is off his leash. It all looks animated but that's how they do these movies now.

Even they can't save the hectic finale, as "Rampage" goes for the simple, loud, chaotic and outrageous over any sort of coherence. George is played in motion capture by Jason Liles who, I'm sorry, is no Andy Serkis. We don't need much more than an uncaring female voice on the intercom (and 40 years of "Alien" movies) to deduce that a sinister corporation is behind all this.

One of the greatest things about Rampage, a film that is by turns incredibly silly and surprisingly violent - and never not loud - is the way it embraces exactly what the audience expects it to be. Across the States, an alligator and a wolf that the internet dubs "Ralph" are also infected and they head towards a radio signal in Federal Plaza, Chicago - a ideal location for them to battle it out and turn all the iconic architecture into rubble. That's what the fans want so give it to them.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan deserves better than this. Just make a monster movie with The Rock. He is, in fact, dwarfed by George, and every other hammy performance on screen, his presence shockingly overshadowed, his usually radioactive charisma dimmed. But they don't seem too attached to those animals, especially changing Lizzie to a croc. If you've seen the trailer for Brad Peyton's Rampage, based ever so loosely on the classic arcade game, then you've seen a trailer that breaks both of these trends.

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