Can Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Rampage’ Break The Curse Of Awful Video Game Movies?

Video game adaptations have something of a troubled history in Hollywood. The trouble is, they’ve been uniformly awful and (with rare exception) financial disasters for their studios. And yet, bless their hearts, these same studios cannot help but keep trying. According to Den of Geek, there are (I kid you not) 60 more video game movies in-development, including reboots of previous adaptations: Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat, and Assassin’s Creed.

Action movie supserstar Dwayne Johnson is no stranger to the subject-matter either, as he starred in the oh-so-forgettable Doom (2005), and this December he appears in the updated re-do of Jumanji, which has been modified into a video game come-to-life instead of a board game come-to-life. (Jumanji‘s video game premise is an original idea, rather than an adaptation of an existing game.)

Johnson clearly loves the material, and now he’s back with a new video game adaptation — perhaps the most ludicrious yet — of 80s coin-op arcade game, Rampage. If you don’t remember the game, it’s essentially about monsters tearing-down skyscrapers. That’s it, in a nutshell. Granted, the simplicity of this premise allowed the creators to go in pretty much any narrative direction they wanted, instead the studio chose a more-or-less literal adaptation.

Yesterday, the first for Rampage trailer dropped and it’s… not bad?

In fact, Rampage looks kind of awesome. No, really! Johnson plays Davis Okoye, an animal behavior expert who befriended and raised a rare, white gorilla named George. Still with me? Hang on, it’s about to get weird. A mysterious device falls from the sky one day and lands in George’s enclosure; the device emits a gas, which enrages George and causes him to grow into a giant Kong-like creature. Naturally, the government wants to cage and study him — this goes about as poorly as you probably imagined. But wait, there’s also a giant Wolf and a giant Crocodile on the loose, too — as a group, they’re all quite pissed-off and together they vent their frustrations in downtown Chicago.

Call out the military, it’s time for stuff to go boom!

Everyone appears to be playing it straight in this trailer, but there’s also a fair bit of humor, too (thankfully). No one’s taking this thing too seriously, I hope. Overall, Rampage looks really polished and intense, the creatures look great, and the city of Chicago appears to take a severe beating (I’m from Detroit, we got issues with Chicago). Sure, it’s super silly stuff, but everyone appears to be having a blast. Look, if you’re into popcorn movies, enjoy video games, and like Dwayne Johnson this is all your major holidays wrapped-up in a nice shiny bow.

Synopsis:

Primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson), a man who keeps people at a distance, shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size. Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.

Rampage also stars Oscar nominee Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Malin Akerman (Billions), Jake Lacy (Girls), Joe Manganiello (True Blood) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead). Brad Peyton (San Andreas) directs from a screenplay by Ryan Engle and Carlton Cuse & Ryan J. Condal and Adam Sztykiel, story by Ryan Engle, based on the video game Rampage. The creatures are brought to life by acclaimed VFX supervisor Colin Strause (San Andreas, X-Men: Apocalypse), with five-time Academy Award-winning visual effects company Weta Digital (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes).

Rampage hits theaters on April 20, 2018.

SOURCE: Warner Bros., Box Office Mojo, Den of Geek