In a world where they make a feature film based on the board game Battleship, we really should have seen this one coming. Hollywood’s continuing efforts to make a feature film out of every previously existing property in creation just found something interesting in the bottom of the barrel, the 1980’s era Midway arcade game Rampage. What’s more, they’ve just announced signing Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to star.
For those who came of age in the era after video arcades were a thing Rampage was a game in which you took control of a kaiju sized beast, a lizard, ape, or wolf, and travel from city to city destroying buildings and eating people. The military is called out to stop you, but you can eat them too. Eventually after your beast takes enough damage you shrink down into a little naked man and wander off screen. At this point the idea was you would put another quarter in the machine and grow back to monster size again.
To whatever degree a Rampage movie is a good fit for anybody, it’s probably a good fit for The Rock. Rampage is a video game with a disaster movie aesthetic. The Rock is in theaters now with San Andreas, a disaster movie and he also starred in another video game property turned film, Doom. Rampage is being produced by the same team behind San Andreas. There’s no word as to exactly who Johnson will be playing in the film. Will he be the primary protagonist fighting against our three giant monsters, or will the monsters be the protagonists, with Johnson transforming into one of them? If the latter our money is on George, the ape.
The screenplay is from writer Ryan Engle who write last year’s Liam Neeson vehicle Non-Stop. There is no director attached to the project yet.
The other interesting question is how seriously they will take the source material. While they could try to turn Rampage into a straight up monster movie, the original game has a definite sense of humor about itself. The monsters can accidentally electrocute themselves, eat toilets, and fall to the ground when the building they’re destroying crumbles to dust while they’re still hanging on it. A Rampage action-comedy might be the way to go here. Johnson has comedic skills as well as his action background, so that may be the way to go here.
Johnson is keeping himself very busy with no fewer than seven projects already planned over the next four years. It may be a while before Rampage actually makes it to the screen.