That’s a big arm,” says Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, putting an adversary in a sleeper hold. “Don’t fight it.”
The same goes for this whole movie: It’s big, bloated, and, if you give in to the familiar charms of its jacked leading man, not unenjoyable. (Alternately, you could easily just let it induce a little nap.)
“Rampage,” from “San Andreas” director Brad Peyton, is based on the 1980s video game, a King Kong/Godzilla facsimile in which enormous, mutated animals decimate major cities. Because a movie has to at least aspire to more substance, we get to know Davis Okoye (Johnson), a San Diego primatologist whose best friend is a rare albino silverback gorilla named George (actor Jason Liles, underneath the animation of Weta Digital, the same shop responsible for the latest “Planet of the Apes” trilogy).
We know Davis prefers animals to people, because he shuns the attentions of a flirty grad student (Breanne Hill) to jump into his muddy Jeep and head home to his dogs. Also because a sidekick (P.J. Byrne) tells him, “You prefer animals to people.”
Davis’s got a close, sign-language-based relationship with George, and if you think it’s delightful to watch The Rock trade friendly trash talk with a silverback, even just a computer-generated one, you are 100 percent correct. Though not as emotionally detailed as the chimps in the “Apes” movies, George — whose favorite hand gesture involves a single finger — is impressively rendered.
And props to the screenwriters for including his origin story, which sneaks in a little education about the evils of poaching amongst all the chaos and wisecracks.