[WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD] If Jurassic World (2015) and King Kong (2005) were to have an offspring, with Dwayne Johnson portraying simply himself as the lead character, it would be Rampage (2018).
As a man-made pathogen being experimented on space crash lands on Earth, Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) finds out that his friend George, an albino gorilla has been infected and has turned into a raging beast. Two other animals have been infected with the pathogen, becoming sources of menace and danger for the people.
While the film’s plot is not entirely terrible, the problem lies with its storytelling and characterization. Dwayne Johnson’s Davis Okoye is a man who is great at everything he does—he is the strongest and the smartest. While it is not exactly unrealistic for him to be adept in combat, piloting, and basically anything that requires utmost survival skills as he is used to lead anti-poaching missions across the world; what is hard to believe is the fact that he seems to be the only one who knows what he is doing, despite being surrounded by a doctor, agent, and soldiers throughout the film.
His characterization appears to have been patterned after the “Mary Sue” archetype, depriving other characters of interesting narratives that could have provided the film more layers and complexities.
A case in point is Dr. Kate Caldwell, played by Naomie Harris. Her character starts out as a strong intelligent individual who knows more about the pathogen than Okoye does. Yet the moment they start working together, she is reduced to a perpetually oblivious individual in order to give way to his (occasionally excessive) heroism. In one of the latter scenes in the movie, Davis is shot in the leg and faints thereafter. After a few moments, he soon comes in and saves Dr. Caldwell getting killed. Surprised, she tells him “I thought you were dead,” which was cringeworthy to say the least, as any doctor or even anyone with a right mind would know that his leg wound is not fatal.
Another would be the villain in the film, Claire Wyden played by Malin Ackerman. She is the head of the company that was creating and experimenting on the pathogen in the first place. Her character was downright evil, but the potential for her to be a formidable and unforgettable villain was never actualized.
Lastly, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Agent Russell is the film’s bare minimum example of a “complex character.” He was definitely not the nicest character in the movie, but one of the very few who knew the right thing to do and did it regardless if he had to break rules or not. Morgan’s portrayal of Russell is heavily reminiscent of how the actor played Negan in The Walking Dead series. Both characters possess the same type of cowboy swag, arrogance, and foul mouths—except Russell still has quite the benevolence in him.
The CGI effects and the exhilarating action scenes with the animals-turned-monsters actually brought much excitement to this Brad Peyton film, almost compensating for its poor execution and somewhat blandly written characters.
In summary, go for the action scenes and visual effects, stay for the action scenes and visual effects.