Friday, July 6, 2018

RAMPAGE (2018) (4K UltraHD Review)

RAMPAGE (2018) 
Label: Warner Bros.
Region Code: A
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 108 Minutes 

Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 2160p UHD Widescreen (2.40:1) 
Director: Brad Peyton 
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Ackerman, Jake Lacy

When I was a kid Rampage wasn't one of the arcade games I pumped a lot of quarters into, I was a Galaga man, so I wasn't too thrilled one way or the other when they announced that the 80's arcade classic was being adapted into a big budget blockbuster starring Dwayne 'The Rock" Johnson, a guy who seems super-cool and fun but I don't really drop money to go see at the cinema, he's more of a 'maybe I'll catch it on HBO' sort of star in my book. However, I will say that the idea of giant monsters destroying a city was certainly appealing in a big, dumb fun sort of way, and the movie definitely delivered on that promise - it was big, way dumb and a good bit of brainless big-budget fun.

Here we an evil corporate gene manipulation company named Energyne run by some greedy and unethical siblings who fund some shady genetic research that so illicit they have to do it on a space station orbiting the Earth. As the film opens a altered rodent of unusual size on the space station is out to gnaw on the sole survivor of the crew, scientist Dr. Kerry Atkins, who manages to  make it to the escape pod but Energyne CEO Claire Wyden (Malin Åkerman, Watchmen chimes in via the intercom and tells her she's not unlcoking the escape pod unless she brings back the research, four canisters containing a mutagenic pathogen. She manages to evade the rat and get the canisters on the pod but the rat damaged the pod and it explodes while re-entering the Earth's atmosphere, spilling it's mutagenic cargo all over the United States. Canisters fall into the Everglades, a rural part of Wyoming (is there any other sort of place in Wyoiming?) and the San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary, where it infects an intelligent and rare albino silverback gorilla named "George", who once exposed begins to rapidly grow and become more hostile, even to his human best friend, primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson, Southland), who conveniently for the story was also a former US Army Special Forces soldier, neat-o!

When news of the rapidly growing gorilla makes the news scientist Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris, 28 Days Later) shows up to fill in the details about how she was fired by Energyne who are using CRISPR technology to create a biological weapon and then the clandestine/dark-side of the government shows up to kill George slash save the world the governmental way, via a black ops team run by Agent Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Negan from the Walking Dead basically being Negan without a bat wrapped with barbed wire) who reluctantly teams up with the primatologist to hopefully save the Chicago from total destruction. 

Destruction from what? Oh, that's right, those canisters that landed in Wyoming and Florida mutated a wolf and a crocodile to enormous size, and they along with the gorilla are drawn into the city of Chicago via an annoying homing beacon set-off by the evil corporate siblings, and thus the promise of the arcade game is realized, three enormous beasts wreaking havoc on a major American city. 

Throw logic right out the window while watching this one folks, the monsters are cool looking and well rendered via digital effects,the action is actually quite a bit of fun, but the human elements are straight-up eye rolling, just sit there and eat your popcorn and sip on your soda, but don't put any thought into the story there's not much of one to pick over, but the brainless action is admittedly fun, sometimes you just wanna see monsters fuck shit up, and that's what this delivers. I rolled my eyes plenty during this one, but the one true laugh I had was when that wolf sprouted wings and started gliding around like a damned flying squirrel I laughed so hard, oh my Lord. 

Audio/Video: Rampage arrives on Blu-ray and 4K UltraHD from Warner Bros. looking vivid and sharp the Dolby Vision really drenches the blacks and provides some deeply saturated colors that pop right off the screen to a degree, as it has a slightly desaturated color grading by design it's not quiet eye-popping with color. Fine detail is significant, even the darker scenes offer up a pleasing array of craggy facial features and textures, you can see the sweat pouring off of the Rock's bald head throughout. 

The Dolby Atmos audio is a ground-shaker for sure giving the low frequencies a nice workout with some great use of the surrounds with carnage and bullets zipping along giving a real nice immersive presentation all around. 

Extras including deleted scenes, a gag reel, trailer and   about forty-minutes of featurettes that goes into adapting the game, creating the monsters, the cast and filming in Chicago. Nothing too deep but your typical studio EPK style stuff, breezy and not too demanding.  

Special Features: 
- Not A Game Anymore - From arcade sensation to movie monster epic, we explore how the Midway video game inspired the filmmakers to create the ultimate disaster film. (6 min) HD 
- Gag Reel - Hilarious outtakes and mishaps captured during production. (3 min) HD 
- Deleted Scenes (10 min) HD 
- Rampage - Actors in Action: Strap in for a wild ride as Dwayne Johnson, Joe Manganiello and the cast prepare for the film’s demanding stunts and explosive set pieces. (11 min) HD 
- Trio of Destruction - Follow the innovative design team and the artists at Weta Digital as they bring to life the biggest and baddest monsters for the film’s climactic battle royal. (10 min) HD
- Attack on Chicago - Director Brad Peyton reveals the challenges of filming on-location in Chicago and turning digital destruction into a cinematic reality.
- Bringing George to Life - Discover the wonder of what it’s like to be a gorilla, as movement coordinator Terry Notary teaches actor Jason Liles how to move, behave and become “George.” (12 min) HD

Rampage (2018) is a stupefying monster carnage flick, I didn't love it to any degree but it is plenty entertaining in a big, dumb, brainless sort of way, and the 4K UltraHD presentation looks and sounds amazing, so if a big, dumb giant monster movie sounds like a a good time I can whole heartedly recommend this one right here.  

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