Rampage is a 2018 American science fiction monster film directed by Brad Peyton, and loosely based on the video game series of the same name by Midway Games. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It follows a primatologist named Davis Okoye who must team up with George, an albino gorilla who turns into a raging creature of enormous size as a result of a rogue experiment, to stop two other mutated animals from destroying Chicago. It is the third collaboration between Peyton and Johnson, following Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) and San Andreas (2015).
Principal photography began in April 2017 in Chicago. The film was released in the United States on April 13, 2018, by Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema, in 2D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D formats. It has grossed over $425 million worldwide. It received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for Johnson and Morgan’s performances and the visual effects, but criticism of the screenplay and storyline. It is the all-time best reviewed film based on a video game, currently sitting at 52% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Athena-1, a research space station owned by gene manipulation company Energyne, is destroyed after a laboratory rat mutates and wreaks havoc. Dr. Kerry Atkins, the lone surviving crew member, is ordered by CEO Claire Wyden to retrieve research canisters containing a pathogen. Atkins is able to flee in the escape pod when the station implodes, but it disintegrates upon re-entry, killing her. The falling pieces leave a trail of debris across the United States, including the Everglades, where a canister is consumed by an American crocodile, and a forest in Wyoming, where a gray wolf is exposed to the pathogen.
Primatologist Davis Okoye, a former US Army Special Forces soldier and member of an anti-poaching unit, works at the San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary, a wildlife preserve. He befriends a rare albino gorilla named George, whom he saved from poachers. Davis communicates with George using sign language and gestures, and George shows Davis that he has a sense of humor. At night, one of the canisters crash-lands in George’s habitat and George is also exposed to the pathogen.
George grows considerably larger and more aggressive over time. Davis is contacted by Dr. Kate Caldwell, a genetic engineer, who explains that the pathogen was developed by Energyne to rewrite genes on a massive scale. She had hoped to advance CRISPR research as a potential cure for diseases but discovered that Energyne planned to use it as a biological weapon. The company fired her and got her sent to prison for attempting to expose them. George escapes from captivity and goes on a rampage at the preserve. Davis calms him down, but George is captured by a government team led by Agent Harvey Russell and put on an airplane. Meanwhile, Claire and her brother, Brett, send a squad of mercenaries to capture the mutated wolf, Ralph, but they are all killed.
Claire, hoping to capture Ralph and use George to kill Kate so they can cover up their plans, uses a massive transmitter atop the Willis Tower to lure all three of the animals – who have been engineered to respond aggressively to a certain sound frequency – to Chicago. George reacts violently to the sound, and his subsequent rampage causes the plane to crash, though Davis, Kate, and Russell parachute to safety. George, who also survives the crash, joins Ralph as they make their way to Chicago. Davis and Kate convince Russell to help them steal a military helicopter, so they can get ahead of George.
By the time they arrive, George and Ralph are going on a rampage in the city. George and Ralph are overwhelmed by the military until the mutated crocodile, Lizzie, arrives and assists them. Davis and Kate make a plan to steal a counter-serum, with the hope that they can turn the mutated animals back to normal. They are able to reach Energyne headquarters at the Willis Tower and take several vials of the serum, but they are caught by Claire and Brett. Claire reveals that the serum only eliminates the animals’ aggressiveness, rather than revert them to their normal sizes. Claire shoots Davis, but he survives. When George climbs up to the top of the tower and causes chaos, Claire orders Davis to distract him while she attempts to escape with Kate held hostage at gunpoint. Kate slips a vial into Claire’s handbag and pushes her towards George, who swallows the terrorist whole along with the serum. Below, Russell takes a laptop of incriminating evidence from Brett and allows him to walk away, but Brett is crushed by falling debris as he leaves the tower. George and the other animals destroy the transmitter, causing the entire tower to topple over. Davis and Kate survive by hovering in a damaged helicopter amidst the shower of debris.
With George returned to his normal personality, Davis stays in the city to help him defeat the other two rampaging animals, while Kate rushes to prevent the military from deploying a MOAB to kill the creatures. George and Davis trick Ralph into flying into Lizzie’s jaws, which decapitates him, but George is overpowered by Lizzie and heavily wounded. As Lizzie nearly kills Davis, George pierces Lizzie’s brain through the eyehole with a rebar, killing her. With the threat neutralized, the airstrike is aborted, George and Davis help clear the city of debris and evacuate civilians.
Dwayne Johnson as Davis Okoye, a former US Army Special Forces soldier as well as primatologist and head of an anti-poaching unit.
Naomie Harris as Dr. Kate Caldwell, a rejected genetic engineer who teams up with Okoye.
Malin Åkerman as Claire Wyden, the CEO of Energyne responsible for the infection and mutation of George, Ralph, and Lizzie with the mutagenic serum for Project: Rampage.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Harvey Russell, a government agent who works for an unspecified agency.
Jake Lacy as Brett Wyden, Claire’s dimwit brother.
Joe Manganiello as Burke, the leader of a private military group.
Marley Shelton as Dr. Kerry Atkins, a scientist and astronaut.
P. J. Byrne as Nelson, a scientist and friend of Okoye.
Demetrius Grosse as Colonel Blake
Jack Quaid as Connor[
Breanne Hill as Amy
Matt Gerald as Zammit
Will Yun Lee as Agent Park
Urijah Faber as Garrick
Bruce Blackshear as Taylor
Jason Liles as the motion-capture of George, an albino gorilla similar to Snowflake and one of the animals affected by a strange chemical that mutates them into colossal-sized monsters. Production
Warner Bros. acquired the film adaptation rights to the 1986 arcade game Rampage in 2009, as part of their acquisition of Midway Games for $33 million. The project was announced in November 2011, with John Rickard set as a producer. In June 2015, Deadline Hollywood reported that Dwayne Johnson was set to star, re-teaming with New Line and producer Beau Flynn, while the studio was looking for a director to start production in mid-2016.In July, it was reported that New Line was in talks with Brad Peyton to direct and produce. Peyton later stated that the film would “be a lot more emotional, a lot scarier and a lot more real than you’d expect.” Between January and July 2017, the rest of the supporting cast was assembled.
Principal photography on the film began on April 17, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois. The film also shot in Atlanta, Georgia.
The visual effects were primarily provided by Weta Digital. Effects supervisor Erik Winquist and a small crew travelled to Chicago to create a model of the Chicago Loop that would be destroyed in the climactic battle, learning the building materials and architecture styles. Up to 15,000 photographs were taken with 3D scanners, while motion cameras covered downtown Chicago. As reference for the building destruction, the artists studied both the World Trade Center attacks and implosions of buildings affected by the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake in Weta’s hometown of Wellington. One of the more challenging aspects for Weta was figuring out how the weight and mass of the monsters would affect the city environment and destruction.
Given Weta had plenty of experience creating animated apes in King Kong and Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its sequels Dawn and War, it helped the studio create George “in a much shorter time than it may have 10 years ago,” according to Winquist. Motion capture coach Terry Notary even took a break from Avengers: Infinity War, which was also filmed in Atlanta, to help Jason Liles in his performance as George. On the other hand, the lack of motion capture for Ralph and Lizzie let the animators go loose with how these monsters were portrayed, such as “a wolf that has porcupine spines and wings”.
Rampage was released on April 13, 2018, in 3D and IMAX, by Warner Bros. Pictures, after initially being set for release a week later, on April 20. The release date was moved up after Avengers: Infinity War had also shifted its release up by a week, to April 27, so as to provide Rampage with a two-week cushion. The film was coincidently released 3 weeks after Pacific Rim Uprising, another American Kaiju film.
As part of the promotion, three new games were made available; one is a Browser game called “Rampage: City Smash”, another an arcade beat-em up playing more as a redemption game, was made available on Dave & Buster’s, and a free VR game called “Project Rampage VR”