Can Dwayne Johnson’s “Rampage” Really Avoid the So-Called “Video Game Adaptation Curse”?

Matthew Loffhagen
Warner Bros
(Photo: Warner Bros)

Who’s ready for the exciting live action movie adaptation of beloved video game classic “Rampage”?

Nobody? Huh.

Dwayne Johnson certainly seems eager to promote this new project, but considering the obscurity of the source material, it feels strange that anyone would ever think this movie would be a good idea.

By now we’re all tired of hearing how video game movies are bad, and we’re all pretty cynical when someone starts suggesting that an upcoming movie might be the first one to get things right in adapting a game for the big screen.

As such, when Dwayne “The Rock” “Hobbs” “You’re Welcome” Johnson starts throwing around big claims that his big budget, obscure as heck video game movie is going to save the genre, it’s hard to take him seriously.

Johnson’s tweet references “Doom”, which feels like a smart move. The moment this particular actor starts throwing around claims that he’ll “overcome the ‘video game adaptation curse’” with his new movie, someone is bound to point out just how far from the mark his last endeavor fell.

So with “Doom” squarely behind him, can Johnson actually act well enough in this new movie to make it worthwhile as a video game adaptation?

While “Rampage” may not exactly be a household gaming name, this isn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Plenty of the best movies about gaming – “Scott Pilgrim” and “Wreck-it-Ralph” to name just a couple of recent examples – have achieved cult love not be adapting a particular game, but by adapting the experience of playing a game.

Nobody remembers Eighties arcade game “Rampage” with any particular fondness, but once a giant albino ape starts smashing stuff, people can appreciate the wacky video game silliness of the entire situation.

This movie, then, might have stood a chance of being pretty good, were it not for its director.

Rampage White Gorilla
Source: Warner Bros

Brad Peyton has worked with The Rock before, on the 2015 disaster movie “San Andreas”, notable for being a literal disaster. The film is a stinking pile of garbage in the eyes of many viewers, and alongside “Geostorm” has probably gone a long way towards killing this genre altogether.

Essentially, “San Andreas” and “Rampage” are built around the same concept – horrendous CGI maguffins cause widespread destruction across similarly CGI cityscapes.

This is not exactly new ground in the modern blockbuster world. In fact, from a purely conceptual standpoint, “Rampage” sounds entirely forgettable – perhaps only one step up from movies like “Pixels”.

It’s very possible, indeed, that “Rampage” might be able to break the video game curse. The movie might not be remembered as an atrocious pile of cinematic garbage wearing the skin of a popular game.

After all, in order to suffer from the curse, a movie needs to actually be remembered in the first place. This film just looks so disposable and pointless that it’s unlikely anyone will have any strong feelings about it at all, one way or the other.