Action Adventure

‘Rampage’ 4K Ultra HD Review: Of Monsters and Macho Men

July 17, 2018Ben MK

The epic 21st century showdown between Godzilla and King Kong may still be a couple years off, but in the meantime we have Rampage, a movie that pits a giant ape against a giant reptile (not to mention, a giant wolf), with results that ought to tide moviegoers over in the meantime.

In this film adaptation of the classic '80s arcade game, Dwayne Johnson plays Davis Okoye, a former special forces soldier turned primatologist, whose best friend happens to be a 7-foot tall albino gorilla named George. Rescued from African poachers by Davis when he was young and brought to the San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary, where he now resides, George shares a special bond with Davis. However, their friendship is challenged when pieces of the Athena 1 space station come crashing to earth, bringing with it an experimental pathogen capable of doubling the size of any creature exposed to it overnight.

Of course, George isn't the only one to be exposed to the pathogen. Teaming up with geneticist Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris), Davis must make his way from San Diego to Chicago, where the radio towers atop the Willis Tower have been configured to broadcast a low-frequency signal, drawing George, a giant wolf and a giant crocodile to the Windy City. Luckily, the pair will also have a little help from "Other Government Agency" agent Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who's introduced as a potential adversary to Davis, but who soon comes around to seeing things from Davis' point of view.

Directed by Brad Peyton, who previously collaborated with Johnson on the earthquake disaster movie San Andreas, Rampage is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of film. The movie promises no shortage of monster-on-monster mayhem, and that's exactly what it delivers. At times, it can literally be exhausting just to sit and bear witness to the sound and fury of it all, but at least Rampage lives up to its title.

Rampage's 2160p video encode and HDR color palette treats its human performers with excellent care and attention to detail. However, anyone watching this movie will no doubt have come for the spectacle of watching giant monsters duking it out to the death; and in that regard, this 4K release does not disappoint. Image quality is teeming with nuance, from the fur and scales on the film's oversized combatants to the destruction that results from their violent confrontations, while the disc's room-shaking Dolby Atmos sound mix serves up a heaping helping of audio chaos, from heavy artillery fire, to fierce growls, falling debris and explosions.

Warner's two-disc 4K Ultra HD release includes an UltraViolet/Movies Anywhere digital copy and a Blu-ray copy of the film. There are no special features on the 4K disc, but the following extras can be found on the Blu-ray:

  • Not Just a Game Anymore (6:15) - The actors and the filmmakers reminisce about their love of the original 1986 arcade game and speak about what makes this big screen version of Rampage fun and special.
  • Deleted Scenes (10:12) - Seven scenes.
  • Gag Reel (2:43)
  • Rampage: Actors in Action (10:45) - Marley Shelton, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Joe Manganiello and MMA fighter-turned-actor Urijah Faber talk about their performances, and in some cases, the stunt, military and weapons training required of them.
  • Trio of Destruction (10:08) - A look at the visual effects behind the movie's giant creatures, the real-life genetic editing technology that inspired them, and the challenges of setting the film's climax in bright daylight.
  • Attack on Chicago (10:23) - A behind-the-scenes look at how real-life location footage, practical sets and visual effects come together to bring Rampage's climactic third act to life.
  • Bringing George to Life (11:53) - Motion capture actor Jason Liles, Movement Coordinator Terry Notary, VFX Supervisors Colin Strause and Erik Winquist, and Animation Supervisor Aidan Martin talk about the work involved in bringing George to the big screen.

Rampage is available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as of July 17th, 2018. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 1 hr. 47 min.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this 4K Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on April 13th, 2018.

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