I have long written about the troubled history of bringing video game movies to the screen. For every success such as “Resident Evil” there are failures such as “Super Mario Bros”, “Wing Commander”, “DOOM”, and countless others. In recent years studios have taken more control of films based on their titles and we have seen some better success at least from a financial point. I was on set and very briefly in “Postal” and “Far Cry” and between scenes it was explained to me that with many video game films, you can use names and a basic premise from the game, but visuals, scenarios and such are usually forbidden as they cannot follow past stories or impede on any possible new projects. What is left is usually something with the name of the game and a very loose association.

“Tomb Raider” and “Assassin’s Creed” recently had a solid box office and while “Warcraft” fizzled domestically it did well overseas but not enough to trigger a sequel but showed an upward trend of star power and bigger budgets for game related films.

All of which brings us to “Rampage”; which is based on a classic arcade game which spawned version on multiple gaming platforms and sequels over the years.

The movie stars Dwayne Johnson as Davis Okoye; a former military operative who joined an anti-poaching task force and now resides in San Diego caring for Primates. His associates note that he has a better relationship with the animals in his care than he does the people around him and Davis is more than fine with this.

His favorite animal is an Albino Gorilla named George and Davis has even managed to teach him and other members of the group to speak to him via sign language.

All seems well until debris from a satellite crashes into George’s enclosure one night as well as various locales around the country.

George begins to grow at an alarming rate and shows increased aggression which is troubling to Davis and draws the attention of a genetics company who are involved in a rogue genetics experiment and a disgraced scientist named Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) who strive to help George and get control of the situation. Naturally the people behind the experiment are not going to let this happen and involve Government Agent Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), to transport them all to a secure locale.

Naturally things do not go as planned and with multiple creatures now on the loose and heading to Chicago, and the military powerless to stop the carnage, it is up to Davis to save George and save the day.

The film uses some lavish visuals to depict the creatures and the action scenes are very entertaining. For a game with a very basic premise, it was nice to see the attempt made to flesh out the backstory and characters and not make the film just an extended FX reel.

There are some scenes and lines that would not be appropriate for younger viewers as a couple at our screener seemed to have some issues with the intensity at times. That being said, “Rampage” delivers an over the top, campy, and fully entertaining mix of video games and classic monster movies. The strong cast and great effects make for an enjoyable action film as long as you accept things with a wink and a smile. I hope this is a success as I would love to see a future film in the series and Johnson, Morgan, and Harris were a very winning combination.

4 stars out of 5.