The opening scene of Rampage shows a space station littered with floating dead bodies. We learn that the scientists aboard the space station were conducting genetic editing experiments on animals and that a rat has mutated into a monster and killed all but one of the scientists. The surviving scientist manages to escape the space station before it self-destructs, but on re-entry the escape pod is destroyed and three gene-editing canisters fall to earth. One lands in a wildlife centre in California, affecting a gorilla named George. One lands in Wyoming, affecting a wolf, and one in Florida, affecting a crocodile.
Davis Okeye (Dwayne Johnson) is a primatologist. He has cared for George since he was rescued as a baby from poachers who slaughtered George’s parents. Davis can communicate with George using sign language, and when Davis arrives at the wildlife centre the day after the pod lands, he immediately notices that something is terribly wrong with George. George has grown considerably bigger overnight and is far more aggressive.
At this point Dr Kate Cadwell (Naomie Harris) arrives at the animal centre, announcing that she knows what’s wrong with George and how to cure him. Kate formerly worked for Claire and Brett Wyden (Marlin Akerman and Jake Lacy), the owners of the corporation funding the genetic editing experiments in space. Kate tells Davis what’s happening to George and explains that the Wydens have a cure at their lab in Chicago.
The rest of the movie features Davis’s race to get to Chicago, as George and the other two monsters rampage out of control.
Genetic engineering; cruelty to animals
Rampage has a lot of violence. For example:
- A woman is told that if she refuses to risk her life to get canisters of samples, she’ll be left to die aboard a space station that’s about to explode.
- A monstrous, genetically altered rat chases a woman through a burning space station. The woman escapes from the station in an escape pod but this explodes, vaporising the woman inside. We see a brief image of the woman being vaporised.
- A giant gorilla rips a steel seat from a cage and uses it to smash his way out. He goes on a rampage, smashing his way out of a building and onto a city street, where he terrorises hundreds of civilians by crashing cars with his fists.
- A gunman in a helicopter repeatedly shoots tranquilizer darts into the giant gorilla until it collapses to the ground unconscious. In a later scene the gorilla is imprisoned in a steel cage.
- The giant gorilla breaks out of his cage while being transported on a cargo plane. He throws around several soldiers and kills them. Automatic weapon fire doesn’t hurt him. Two men and a woman wearing parachutes escape before the plane crashes into the ground and explodes. We hear that the gorilla survives the crash.
- Soldiers with automatic weapons hunt down a giant wolf. The wolf attacks and kills the men one by one. We hear the sounds of men screaming, and we see brief images of the wolf grabbing men in its jaws and ripping them apart. Blood sprays across the screen, and the ground is littered with blood-covered bodies and body parts. At one point the giant wolf leaps into the air and grabs a man from a helicopter, which crashes and explodes in flames. It also picks up a man by his head and eats him, although this isn’t shown.
- A woman shoots a man in the stomach to make another woman to do what she wants.
- The movie shows an extended battle between the giant gorilla, wolf and crocodile, in which large portions of the city of Chicago are destroyed. The three creatures cause death and mayhem as they climb skyscrapers, throw vehicles around and smash their way through buildings.
- In a battle between the wolf and the crocodile, the crocodile bites off the wolf’s head, throws it up in the air, and then swallows the head whole.
- The crocodile throws the gorilla against a building and a large metal rod spears the gorilla through its back and chest. The gorilla pulls the rod out, leaving a blood-soaked patch behind. The gorilla uses the rod to stab the crocodile through its head.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Rampage has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- One scene shows images of a space station with its interior destroyed and its crew dead. A floating dead body is missing its eyes, has bloody cuts to its face and is surrounded by floating droplets of blood. A woman says, ‘The crew is dead’.
- The giant animals are likely to terrify children in this age group. For example, the giant rat has tentacles that grow from its body, a mouth full of sharp, pointed teeth and quill-like spines surrounding its neck and tail. It makes a high-pitched screeching sound. Explosions engulf the giant rat in fire, but it doesn’t seem to be affected.
- One scene shows the giant gorilla with bloody claw wounds across its chest. A dead bear lies on the ground near the gorilla. We hear that the gorilla snapped the bear’s neck.
- There is a scary-looking man in army fatigues. He has several large scars on his face.
- One scene shows a landscape littered with the dead bodies of wolves.
- We hear that poachers killed gorillas and cut off their hands to make into ashtrays. One scene shows a baby gorilla cowering under a car after seeing its parents being killed by poachers.
The scenes mentioned above are likely to be disturb children in this age group.
Some of the scenes mentioned above are likely to be disturb children in this age group.
Younger children in this age group might be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Nothing of concern
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Rampage shows some use of substances. For example:
- People shoot animals with tranquiliser guns.
- Characters refer to ‘chill pills’, which can be used as an antidote to the aggression caused by genetic modification.
Nudity and sexual activity
Rampage shows some partial nudity. For example, a woman wears low-cut clothing.
Nothing of concern
Rampage has some coarse language and crude behaviour.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Rampage is an action adventure based on a 1980s video game. It’s targeted at older teenagers and adult fans of the game.
The giant rampaging creatures and many violent scenes, which include blood and gore, are likely to terrify younger viewers. Therefore, Rampage isn’t recommended for children under 13 years, and we recommend parental guidance for children aged 13-15 years.
The main message from this movie is that people will often do and say anything to get what they want.
This movie could give the chance to talk with your children about some of the ethical issues related to genetic engineering. Can the risks be justified if there’s a possibility of curing cancer?