Chicago, IL – The classic Kaiju movie genre, known for its giant monster mayhem and destruction, has long been a specialty of Japanese filmmakers. While the West has had its share of Kaiju-inspired films, it often struggles to capture the unique charm and chaos of the genre. However, there is one recent blockbuster that managed to embrace its B-movie roots and deliver a truly enjoyable Kaiju experience: Brad Peyton’s 2018 film adaptation of the video game “Rampage.”
The journey to bring “Rampage” to the big screen was a long one. Warner Brothers acquired the rights to the 1986 arcade game back in 2009, but it wasn’t until 2011 that the project was officially announced. Over the years, multiple scripts were commissioned before Ryan Engle’s version was chosen, which emphasized that the monsters were not supposed to be heroes.
Dwayne Johnson, a frequent collaborator with director Brad Peyton, was cast as the lead and embraced his love for the source material. In the film, Johnson plays a primatologist who becomes entangled in a corporate conspiracy when a powerful mutagen is unleashed on a trio of animals, including George, an albino Gorilla. As giant monsters wreak havoc on Chicago, Johnson’s character must team up with George to save the day.
When “Rampage” was released in 2018, it wasn’t met with critical acclaim. However, its box office success proved that audiences were hungry for a fun and action-packed monster movie. With its B-movie aesthetic and high production value, “Rampage” delivered on its promise to entertain.
What sets “Rampage” apart from other Kaiju films is its willingness to let the monsters truly act like monsters. Unlike Godzilla, who is bound by a rule of never eating people, the monsters in “Rampage” have no such restrictions. This allows the film to showcase some gnarly and brutal monster action, including buildings collapsing and monsters being decapitated.
Despite its flaws, such as underwhelming human antagonists and saving most of the action for the final act, “Rampage” stands out as a creature feature that fully embraces its B-movie charms. Its unpretentious approach to chaos harkens back to classic Kaiju films like “20 Million Miles to Earth” and “Rodan.”
In conclusion, “Rampage” may not be a perfect film, but it deserves more recognition for its ability to capture the essence of Kaiju movies. With its mix of humor, intense action, and the charisma of Dwayne Johnson, the film provides an entertaining experience that fans of the genre can appreciate. As future monster movies continue to be made, hopefully, they will take note of “Rampage’s” cheesy yet brutal approach to creating an enjoyable Kaiju film.