We all remember that arcade style game Rampage, where the whole point was to destroy buildings, cause explosions, and eat people. So why should the movie deviate anymore than that? The game itself has no plot and almost no premise, so in the light of a clean canvas, I can see why critics attack the script for lacking in a well drawn out story with better emotions and inspiring action scenes. However, upon seeing the film myself, I firmly believe that the final product was intentionally cheesy and even pokes fun at itself in places.
From the get go, I realized that this wasn’t a film to be taken too seriously. When Joe Manganiello’s character, Burke, steps out of his vehicle during his character’s introduction, he has his gun out only to holster it and then pull it up into a locking position for production value enunciation. I literally said out loud, “Why did he have his gun out in the car?” I was then of course shushed for talking in the theater. But seriously, the guy was on a tarmac and had no reason in the scene to have his gun out. Once we see his face, I then realized he was Brad from How I Met Your Mother. This is what gave the film away for me and I quickly realized Rampage was going to be nothing more than a goofy film with homages to the video game. Adding to it, Burke died before adding any real significance to the film.
Once I realized that the purpose of the film was more fun driven, I began to sit back and enjoy the many references to the game. It almost seemed like they had a bunch of puzzle pieces made of significant things in the game and they needed to find a way in the film’s story to make them happen. For example, the scene where all three creatures are climbing to the top of a very tall building. This is almost the epitome of the entire game.
Dwayne Johnson attributes to this concept as he states that this is supposed to be a fun, feel-good movie. In an article by Josh Eells in Rolling Stone Magazine, Johnson states:
So the script comes in, and I’m reading it, and at the end of it – George dies! I’m like, ‘No. Did I miss something? George can’t be dead.’ But I go back, and yeah.
I don’t like a sad ending. Life brings that shit – I don’t want it in my movies. When the credits roll, I want to feel great.
So we had a big meeting where they gave me all the reasons they thought George should die. He sacrifices himself saving the world. Killing these animals who had ill intentions to harm mankind. He sacrifices himself like a brave soldier. OK. But this is a movie! There’s a crocodile the size of a football stadium – we’re not making Saving Private Ryan.
– Dwayne Johnson
Johnson goes on to explain that he has a pact with his audiences around the world and they expect fun, feel-good movies from him. He knew that he wanted this to be a light hearted film going into the project, and didn’t want it to be taken too seriously.
Even consider the big drawn out moment where George throws Malin Akerman’s antagonistic character, Claire Wyden, up into the air and into his mouth to eat. This is exactly, piece by piece, the same as eating the common woman in the game itself. All the way down to the type of red dress she is wearing.
So sure the story isn’t the best, but when the lives of civilians are second to the Rampage of destruction on screen, I couldn’t ask for a better translation of a button mashing game into a hell raising movie.