Rampage at the movies this week

Rampage at the movies this week

Dwayne Johnson stars in the action adventure Rampage as primatologist Davis Okoye, a man who keeps people at a distance but shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, incredibly rare albino silverback gorilla who has been in his care since he rescued the young orphan from poachers. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size.

To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals. As these newly created alpha predators tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with discredited geneticist Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.

Like movie fans around the world, Rampage director/producer Brad Peyton loves to see Dwayne Johnson in terrifying, larger-than-life scenarios that require all his skill and strength, humor and charm, to overcome. Peyton has already placed his intrepid star under a volcano on a sinking island, and dropped him into the epicenter of a magnitude-9 earthquake. Now, in their third big-screen adventure – a movie that’s massive on every level – scale, scope, action and visual impact – Peyton ups the ante again by pitting Johnson against something he has never faced before: an antagonist even bigger than he is.

And not just one, but three: gargantuan, genetically mutating creatures, completely out of control, on a collision course with civilization.

Johnson is up for the challenge. “Brad and I are like a couple of kids when we get together on a project like this,” he says. “Art always reflects the artist, so I think fans can count on great action and great fun, and a fair amount of destruction. We always want to push things farther than we did before and to constantly raise that bar. Or possibly go over it.

“For me,” he adds, “just stepping on the set every day was like, okay, it’s am and my intensity level goes up to fifteen on a scale of one-to-ten, and it stays that way until the end of the day.”

“There were lots of ‘wow’ moments, and so many sets that just blew my mind,” adds Naomie Harris, who stars opposite Johnson as Dr. Kate Caldwell. “I’d never been in a helicopter or a plane that’s been recreated with hydraulic effects to tilt so that I’m hanging from a wire and flying around. That’s the wonderful thing about Brad and Dwayne, and the whole producing team. At the center of everything they want to make you feel that it’s all happening right here, right now, and that you’re really in the heart of the action. And that’s what the audience will see.”

Among the interests Peyton and Johnson share that factored into Rampage are an affinity for movies about ferocious giant creatures and an affection for the classic video arcade game Rampage, featuring a trio of supersized creatures knocking down cities and running wild over the landscape. Though the arcade game was the original spark of inspiration, it didn’t provide a lot beyond its pure and simple premise, which suited Peyton perfectly. “I was interested in the challenges and opportunities that came from the game,” he says, “but the fact that it had so little narrative allowed us to make our own movie, create our own monsters and explore our own themes. We paid homage to it in a fun and respectful way by utilizing its creatures and planting some Easter eggs for fans.”