'Rampage': The Rock in a hard place

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Okoye must team with disgraced scientist Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) to get hold of an antidote, one that can only be obtained from the Chicago-based headquarters of the corporate company behind the original experiment.

The space station belonged to Energyne - an unscrupulous biotech firm run by Claire Wyden (Malin Ackerman in full-on reptilian villainess mode) and her goofball brother Brett (Jake Lacy) - and was being used to conduct unsafe and illegal genetic editing research.

We've seen Dwayne Johnson rampage through all sorts of action movies - as government agent Luke Hobbs in the "Fast and Furious" franchise, a jungle adventurer in "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" and "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle", and tough guys both real ("Pain & Gain") and mythological ("Hercules"). So pairing Johnson with a giant albino gorilla in the video game adaptation "Rampage" feels right.

"I'm feeling so good and so blessed", Johnson said. It's not a plus for Rampage when a CG gorilla is its most appealing character.

There are other characters in the movie - some of them are actually pretty amusing, even - but they're mostly disposable in the face of the movie's not-so-secret rush to shut up and get to the mayhem. "Just give Daddy two more days'".

There is some good disaster porn. They require no mental exertions or self-examination, which is just as well, because the movie does not encourage cerebral activity.

Davis has a posse of zoologists in the early going, but the screenplay, by a quartet that includes San Andreas scribe Carlton Cuse, soon loses sight of them in the mayhem. George moves the same at any size, no matter how much extra mass he obtains.

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I am always impressed with motion capture and the actors who portray various creatures and Liles does a terrific job of emoting through facial expressions. That probably tells you exactly what you need to know.

If Rampage's disaster scenario represents classic B-movie material, the filmmakers don't seem at all concerned about appearances; in fact they up the ante with another very big predator, a 30-foot wolf with incredible speed and agility that's on a potentially devastating collision course with George.

Without peaking, what kind of animal do you think Lizzie is?

Meanwhile, the wolf turns into a 10-story snarling maniac, and makes a beeline for Chicago, where Akerman's character is luring the beasts with a special radio signal (atop the former Sears Tower) with hopes of harvesting valuable mutated DNA when the military eventually kills them. So they're still on all fours, just bigger.

The chemistry between the trio keeps the whole movie afloat, especially once the situation with George starts to go completely off the rails.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan among others, and it is out this week.

Do they do the thing from the game where the monsters punch holes in the buildings to make them fall over? Since making the move from the ring to the screen, Johnson has made a habit out of turning bad ideas into blockbuster hits, and with Rampage he's again flexed his prodigious muscles to buff the shiny hell out of what could have been the cinematic equivalent of something you scrape off your shoe with a grimace.

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