Hollywood workaholic and ‘Mr Reliable’ Dwayne Johnson re-teams with San Andreas and Journey 2 director Brad Peyton for another blockbuster slice of action – that largely delivers what it’s supposed to.
It seems like the script was cooked up in five minutes, but Johnson and co put on an entertaining show – think a less serious version of last year’s King: Skull Island as a yardstick – that’s dominated by the impressive computer-generated visuals.
Very loosely based around the classic eighties monster-mashing video game – in which behemoths flatten sky-scraping buildings – Johnson stars as primatologist (who also happens to be an ex-marine by chance) Davis Okoye, who has a close relationship with primates – and a particularly unshakable bond with highly-advanced ape George.
But when a rogue genetic experiment goes awry in space – which infects three different animals when a dangerous pathogen crash lands on Earth – Johnson’s beloved George turns into a raging monster alongside a mutated wolf and (what is seemingly) an alligator.
And when these monsters descend on Chicago due to a homing beacon turned on by a greedy corporation – led by Malin Akerman’s (Watchmen) Claire Wyden – trying to extract valuable samples from the monsters, all hell breaks loose.
It’s then a race against time for Okoye to try and secure an antidote to save George – as he fights his way through an ever-changing battlefield as the creatures continue to grow and wreak havoc. And basically go on the rampage.
The supporting cast vary in quality from Johnson’s predictable romance with Naomie Harris’ (Skyfall) Dr Kate Caldwell, Akerman’s stereotypical villain, and Demetrius Grosse’s annoying hapless army colonel – but this is offset somewhat by an enjoyable turn from Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s (who was also in Watchmen) problem-solver Harvey Russell, who almost steals the show.
There’s also a nice set piece which sees Joe Manganiello’s – Deathstroke from Justice League’s end credits – and his commando team try and take down the humongous wolf in an entertaining forest battle scene that leads to some bloodthirsty carnage.
But ultimately – despite Johnson and Dean Morgan’s best efforts – this actioner is still as basic as they come, and generally offers nothing that wasn’t done better in the recent Pacific Rim: Uprising.
Which puts it towards the lower-end of Johnson’s CV – despite some ‘leave your brain at the door’ enjoyment to be had.
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Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jake Lacy, Marley Shelton, PJ Byrne, Jack Quaid, Demetrius Grosse & Joe Manganiello
Running Time: 1 Hr 47 Mins
Director: Brad Peyton
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