Rampage (2009) Review of the Past

Most cover art for this movie is great!

Most cover art for this movie is great!

Why don’t you make me a Double-Espresso… Macchiato… with extra foam?

Any movie fanatic with interest in video games will know the name. The name that has destroyed most fans hearts. The name we dread to be attached to future video game movies. The name is Uwe Boll. Now before you close this page and look away in horror, or perhaps even throw your monitor out the window. I’m here with a review of a movie that was actually not bad. At least for Uwe Boll standards. The only other movie he made that I got any enjoyment out of was Postal, and that was only down to its complete craziness. With Rampage however, Uwe Boll has made a film I didn’t want to like, had no intention of watching, but I did all those things anyway, and I’m glad I did.

Rampage is pretty straight forward on paper, about a man with a thirst for revenge, he builds himself a full body of armour from Kevlar that looks surprisingly awesome and goes on a killing spree. Sounds pretty straight forward, but, there is much more to the movie than that. The writing and editing of the movie help with this a lot. This is more than just a simple killing spree movie, and the trailer totally gives the impression that’s all your going to get whilst watching it, take it from me though, this is a smarter movie than you may expect.

The main focus of Rampage, the heart of the movie is Bill Williamson played fantastically by Brendan Fletcher. He carries the whole movie on his shoulders and does an amazing job of portraying a likable, yet twisted character, that is much smarter than he may show. This guy literally starts to just kill people, innocent people going about their daily lives. For that, I had a hard time thinking why I would even get behind this character as I knew what he was doing was completely awful. The opening 30 minute of the movie however is just like a day in the life of Bill Williamson, and he is having trouble, both at home and at work. Not to mention all the little things that you feel he buries deep within himself like the lack of extra foam in his macchiato and having his drink spilled on him by a carless fast food waitress. All of this and more, despite how little this justifies going on a killing spree, helps with getting behind the character.

As for the rest of the cast, the acting is acceptable at best, no-one feels as fleshed out as Bill and I get the feeling they’re there to simply dress the scene and help with the dialogue. The only exception is Bill’s friend Evan Drince, played by Shaun Sipos. He may not have a huge presence in the movie, but he does pop up from time to time, whether in a phone conversation or seeing him rant about the world in his vlogs. He’s never explored enough to care for his well-being, but he has a great presence on-screen when with Bill, the dialogue flows naturally between them.

When is said this may was an enjoyable Uwe Boll movie, I wasn’t pulling your leg. This may be his best work, that’s still not the best thing in the world but it’s a step in the right direction. With Rampage he has shown he can write and direct an enjoyable movie that doesn’t have to rely on an existing franchise and fanbase to gain an audience. This may have been back it 2009, but for his sake, I hope he keeps along this path and does more original movies with some great, witty writing.

However the camera work in Rampage is all over the place, there’s nothing new here, but Uwe Boll thought it would have been nice to have a shaky cam during the shooting scenes. Whilst I really liked the look of the camera just sitting behind Bill as he walks the streets, causing all kinds of trouble, it’s not always . Whenever he runs or speeds up, the camera work becomes very sloppy and it’s hard to focus on anything. Anyone with motion sickness will want to stay away. The pacing for a 87 minute runtime is okay at best too. With the opening 30 minutes of building relationships and characters, we have several, few seconds long, flash forwards of the chaos that is to come, this no doubt is the keep the audience enticed, a cheap but somewhat effective technique.

As the violence in the Rampage, there’s quite a bit of it as you’d imagine. Most, if not all of the effects are real too, not something added in with a computer later on. Each bullet wound explodes with a crimson red bang and some of the knife wounds pour crazy amounts of blood. There are even some explosions within the movie and they are done fantastically as well. Sending both people and cars flying through the air, they become a welcome break from all the shooting. Then the writing has that wittiness that Uwe Boll can be known for. He usually lays it on thick in his past movies but here it’s very subtle and smarty done. The acting helps delivers the lines in a more natural manner, but the writing deserves just as much praise as the actors do.

I had ideas in my head as to what might happen at the end.  to be honest I had ideas as to what might happen throughout the whole movie. But it kept proving me wrong and doing something unexpected. As the end of the movie grew near, I did manage to put all the pieces to together, and when I thought about it, it was rather smart and unexpected. Of course, due to the nature of the movie, you couldn’t quite call it a happy ending, but one I found myself happy to watch.

Uwe Boll have delivered a good movie. A small sentence I never thought I’d write. Postal was okay, this is good, and if he keeps going, maybe one day he’ll make his masterpiece. Rampage isn’t for everyone, and it has its problems. But when your set your expectations so low, it’s easy to be surprised by the outcome. I expected a movie of glorified violence, but instead got one that talked about issues that we are facing in the world today, with overpopulation, global warming and low energy resources, it’s all there and it can be pretty scary.

7 Perfectly Good Macchiato out of 10

-ast