New Line Cinema

How the ‘Rampage’ movie hopes to shake the ‘video game curse’

Will 'Rampage' flip the script on bad video game movies?


Chris Reed

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 30, 2018   Updated on May 22, 2021, 2:45 am CDT

Movies based on video games are almost always bad. Starting with the Super Mario Bros. movie in 1993 and all the way to 2016’s Assassin’s Creed, these films tend to be critical duds.

But with his upcoming movie Rampage, based on a Bally Midway arcade game from the 1980s, director Brad Peyton would like to flip the script.

For video game nerds, Rampage will need no introduction. After launching in arcades in 1986, it went on to get ports and spinoffs on just about every gaming platform imaginable. Oddly enough, the only console generation Rampage hasn’t had much of a presence on is the current one.

But in case anyone forgot about Rampage, a big-budget movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson should change that. The game itself doesn’t have much of a story. Players control giant monsters that crush and eat people, climb buildings, and smash structures until they crumble to dust. It’s a lot of fun.

But that’s not much to hang a two-hour movie on, so the script fills in the blanks. It follows a primatologist named Davis Okoye (Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson), who’s developed a close bond with a gorilla named George. When a mysterious experiment turns gentle George into a giant raging gorilla, Davis wants to save his primate pal. Unfortunately, the experiment had a similar effect on a wolf and a crocodile, and the three towering beasts start destroying everything they can get their paws and claws on.

The question is, with all the bad video game movies that have come before, will Rampage be any good?

In an interview with IGN, director Peyton says he didn’t actually know about the “video game curse” until after filming the movie. But now that he does know, he’s not too worried about it. One big reason is how thin the game’s plot is.

“A lot of times, [studios] attempt to adapt games that have massive followings,” he said. “When you attempt to adapt something that has an incredibly deep plot line or character or something along those lines, you’re beholden to delivering something.”

He’s right. The only thing fans of the Rampage game could possibly want from the movie is to see enormous beasts wreaking havoc on cities. And seeing as Peyton’s last movie was San Andreas, which is about the utter destruction of San Francisco, it’s safe to say Rampage is in good hands on that front.

Even so, the question remains about whether the movie will actually be any good. Can Rampage break the so-called video game curse? Let’s hope so. But even if it doesn’t, we’ll still get to see giant animals tearing down buildings. That should be good popcorn fun—even if the story falls flat.

Rampage is set to hit theaters on April 20.


Share this article
*First Published: Jan 30, 2018, 3:57 pm CST