APRIL 13, 2018 -- Oh my! Warner Bros bought the rights to the Bally/Midway old video game Rampage a while back and decided to bring it to the big screen. Uh-huh. To make it interesting, the studio cast the reliable cash cow Dwayne Johnson in the lead and charged director Brad Peyton ("San Andreas" and "Journey 2") with th adaptation.


Peyton was a good pick since he successfully guided Johnson in both of those films and is comfortable working with lots of CGI. To be sure, "Rampage" is one gigantic CGI; with practically everything except Johnsons biseps and delts generated and enhanced by computers. What could have used some enhancement is the screenplay. Writers Ryan Engle, Ryan Condal, Adam Sztykiel, and Carlton Cuse smahsed together a collection of cliches and plots with hopes that Johnson's charisma would save it.


Johnson plays Davis Okoye, an ape specialist working at the San Diego Wild Animal park. He spent a lot of time saving the gorillas and even raising a rare albino silverback named George. The two comunicate by sign language and their interplay is mopre interesting than the rest of the film. George however gets infected by a strange substance that changes his friendly personality to meaner and makes him grow to nearly King Kong size.

George isn't the only animal affected, a Wyoming wolf and Florida gator are also exposed to the chemical and they too are mutated. The wolf is huge and flies, while the gator morphs into a Godzilla like creature. All are bent on destroying the world...starting with Chicago from where a radio beacon atop Willis Tower beams the signal. [Why not, the Transformers did it!]


Behind the CRISPR chemical is a company called Energyne and it was originally manufactured in outer space, but the spacelab it was on crashlanded back on earth - in the US - and these three creatures are now the benefactors. Okoye's job is simple - save the planet from these creatures. Joining him is Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomi Harris) who is the prettiest geneticist you'll ever encounter. She has a plan, but she needs Okoye to help her. Tagging along is Harvey (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) whose main function is to make sure his lines sound as stupid as he delivers them.


The evil folk of course are the CEO of Energyne, Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman) and her sidekick Brett (Jake Lacy) and are both laughable. Her biggest triumph is shooting Okoye with what looks like a lethal shot and minutes later him bouncing along because "it must not have hit a vital artery." But the dialogue vitally hits the groaning glands of anyone watching the movie.


Aside from Johnson's halfhearted humorous performance and the abundance of CGI action, the real story is Warner Bros betting on the bankability of Johnson and CGI action. Will gamers go for it after seen a truly marvelous "Ready Player One" that is still fresh in the theaters? Not everyone thinks so. To be sure, Blumhouse and Universal Pictures moved the release of "Truth Or Dare" forward (it was originally scheduled for an April 27 release) to go head to head with "Rampage". They aren't impressed with that bankability index!


The film has the goofy feel of an old Japanese Godzilla film - "Destroy All Monsters" (1968) where the monster are control by female astronauts. But that film even comes off better!


"Rampage" is one of the worst films that stars Dwayne Johnson. His bankability index is being put to the test with this overblown poorly constructed CGI dog. Dwayne Johnson fans and gamers should beware!   -- GRADE C-  --   GEOFF BURTON