"Rampage" is what happens when a superstar actor has the clout to take a pet project and release it onto the screen.
In this case, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who loved the video game that the film is based, receives the opportunity to take this scant story of giant monsters duking it out on the streets of Chicago and build an entire flick around it.
The ultimate result: complete and utter silliness.
That, however, doesn't condemn the movie entirely. How many "Godzilla" flicks have made their way into pop culture and cinematic lore in the past 60 years? Plenty.
Johnson stars as primatologist David Okoye. He works at a San Diego primate refuge and his best friend is George, a rather large albino gorilla. Having rescued George from poachers, Okoye brought him to the United States where the former special ops soldier acts as scientist and guardian. He's the type who prefers animals to people. Some will be able to relate to that.
However, George and David's lives get flipped courtesy of an experiment in genetic editing going whack. After a disaster in space (this flick's got everything) where the samples come plummeting to Earth, George, a wolf and alligator in the wild, all get infected.
The result: gigantism, enhanced abilities and a mean streak.
The developer of the experiment, Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris), has been trying unsuccessfully to thwart Energyne's brother-sister CEOs – Brett and Claire Wyden (Jake Lacy and Malin Akerman) – only to find herself unemployed after serving a prison sentence, courtesy of the duo.
But even as Caldwell attempts to put her fractured life back together, when she sees news reports of George the gigantic ape and, eventually, the wolf, she seeks out Okoye in an effort to try to help. From there, it's on like Donkey Kong.
Director Brad Peyton, a filmmaker who's collaborated with Johnson on several occasions, including the disaster film San Andreas, deserves credit for not taking his material too seriously.
The story, injected with the requisite humorous, throw-away one-liners from a team of four screenwriters, is meant to be fun. At best, however, it's a hit-and-miss enterprise.
Johnson is in it for the fun. The rest of the cast is along for the ride. Although, anyone will appreciate the level of joy Jeffrey Dean Morgan ("The Walking Dead") takes in his role as a secretive government agent who always shows up at the most opportune times.
Is it worth seeing?
This is one younger children will love, but parents will feel as if they're doing penance for past transgressions.
Me? Give me another "Godzilla" flick.
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Ackerman.
Directed by: Brad Peyton.
Running time: 1 hour 47 minutes.
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief language and crude gestures.