Rampage, oh Rampage, where do I start with you? If you’re after a big dumb action movie with little in the way of backstory, a paper-thin plot, but over the top special effects, then Rampage is the movie for you. After all, Dwayne Johnson is the lead and Brad Peyton directs, so given they both worked on Journey 2 and San Andreas you know what to expect when these two team up.
Even going in with an idea of what to expect couldn’t prepare me for what I was about to witness, and I’m ashamed to admit I kind of enjoyed it…
Rampage is based on a classic arcade and console video game, although no prerequisite knowledge of the game is required. Everything you need to know about the plot you’re about to get in a few sentences. CRISPR, a genetic engineering experiment in space, goes horribly wrong when a mutated rat (yup) causes the space station to crash down to Earth. Our hero Davis (Dwayne Johnson) is a former elite special forces soldier who has become a primatoligist (a totally natural career progression) who is looking after an albino ape named George. George gets infected by the pathogen from the space station, along with a wolf and a crocodile, which causes them to get both very large and extremely pissed off. Yes I’m serious.
From there, they take their anger out on the city of Chicago, taking down buildings, throwing helicopters into buildings, and generally just having a great time destroying everything in their path and pushing the CGI budget waaaaaayyyyy up. All the while, Davis is trying to calm down George and stop the world from being overrun by giant angsty mutant animals. And that’s basically it; no need to think deeply about the story, just sit back and enjoy some great one-liners and big action. This is your chance to rest your brain and just let the action unfold, don’t question it.
Right so this is a review of the 4K UHD Blu-ray, which means the visual quality is the be all and end all. You’ve got that flash TV and you wanna know what movies are going to best show it off. Let me do my best at walking you through Rampage in 4K UHD. The film was shot in 3.4K and 6.5K, then mastered at 2K. That would imply that the 4K presentation of Rampage is upscaled from the 2K digital intermediate. Movies that are sourced from 2K digital intermediates don’t tend to have the same pop as one that is sourced from a 4K master.
What this means for Rampage is that there isn’t a massive leap in quality over the standard Blu-ray, but there are some nice refinements. Colour reproduction is superior over the Blu-ray, which isn’t surprising given that you got HDR10 and Dolby Vision on offer here. The overall image quality is sharper and has greater clarity, in particular you’ll appreciate the more revealing facial elements and greater refinement on the environments (which are mostly CGI) and clothing which is noticeably sharper. Overall the visual presentation is solid, offering more minor upticks over the Blu-ray rather than major leaps forward. It is a good 4K presentation, but it isn’t reference quality.
Rampage features a Dolby Atmos encoded soundtrack, although if you’re like me you probably don’t have an Atmos capable home theatre. I stuck with the 5.1 soundbar and it was plenty to highlight the sound quality on offer. As you’d expect of an action movie, this soundtrack it is all about showcasing glass shattering, gunfire, and general explosions and mayhem from when destruction reaches critical mass. The soundtrack doesn’t disappoint, and sound is carried around the sound stage well. When the action kicks off, you’ll know, and chances are your neighbours will too.
Rampage is not going to be taking home the Oscar for best picture, nor will Dwayne Johnson be in line for Best Actor, but this movie was never intended to win awards. It’s big budget action that delivers exactly what you’d expect; mind numbing over the top action that no-one wants to admit they enjoyed but secretly did. You’ll make fun of the film with your friends, and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, and that is exactly what you’re meant to do with Rampage. And this is a good way to watch it.
Rampage was reviewed on the Samsung Q9F 65 inch 4K TV with the Xbox One X.