Please insert 25 cents to continue. Mind you, it's also Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, where a khaki-clad Johnson fought video-game animals.
Based on the classic 1980s video game of the same title, the film is about a gorilla (Jason Liles), a crocodile and a wolf that terrorise a city. The video game, for those unfamiliar, was a simple contest between three monsters, a giant King Kong-like ape (George), an uncharacteristically very large werewolf (Ralph), and a not-quite-Godzilla (Lizzie) to determine who could cause the most damage to a city. Naturally, there's a tower on top for King George Kong to swing on.
The original monster movies never had this convoluted a plot either.
Godzilla was caused by radiation, and in some sequels he was the lesser of two evils when another monster showed up. It's still mutated monsters running wild.
Dwayne Johnson has proven himself to be one of Hollywood's most charismatic performers over the last decade, and even here, essentially playing second fiddle to a trio of CG behemoths, he's absolutely magnetic on screen. The pathogens get loose in the world, infecting a gator in Florida, a wolf in the Rockies, and a gorilla at the San Diego zoo where Davis Okoye (Johnson) supervises the animals.
Johnson said the action-packed film is built on the bond his character has with an intelligent gorilla named George.
Malin Akerman as Engyne boss Claire Courtesy of Warner Bros
The only goal this character trait serves is so that his young male fans won't go, "Ew, girls". The latest installment in that endeavor is a movie based on the 1986 arcade game called Rampage. Won't this alienate them? Why was this experiment in space????
The team of screenwriters are aware of the rules of the massive monster sub-genre, with greedy corporate fat cats the true villains of the film. They laugh, joke and make crude wisecracks, all in sign, but one morning Davis discovers that George is growing at a frightening pace and developing a violent temper.
There are other characters in the movie - some of them are actually pretty amusing, even - but they're mostly disposable in the face of the movie's not-so-secret rush to shut up and get to the mayhem. The creature designs are pretty cool, the visual effects are completely believable, and the script may not be the tightest or the most profound but it does carry the whole thing far enough to keep an audience entertained and at least sort of engaged for just over an hour and a half.
Note to screenwriters: you do not need a new reason that bad guys are making genetic weapons. The Energyne company, having manipulated scientist Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) out of the formula for a possible cure for cancer, have a problem on their hands when a pathogen crash-lands on Earth after one of their space stations explodes, infecting random animals across the USA. Johnson and Harris manage to be a fun, well drawn heroic duo who shockingly don't feel like the requisite love interest factor tossed in to round out an already extremely masculine story - but the real chemistry happens between Johnson and Morgan.
All of that sounds like silly cartoon blockbuster fun, and we definitely get that as Johnson turns up that trademark charm of his to provide some laughs with support from Harris' wry Dr. Caldwell.