By Jacob Factor, Features Editor (Courtesy photos/Google)
“Rampage” and “Pacific Rim: Uprising” are two action movies in theaters right now. Both involve larger-than-life monsters that threaten to destroy major cities, and both have the flawed heroes that save the day. There are differences, however, and, depending on preference, there is one that is clearly more worth seeing than the other.
“Rampage” starts out in Los Angeles with a primatologist named Davis Okoye, played by Dwayne Johnson, and a geneticist, Dr. Kate Caldwell, played by Naomie Harris, who meet when a genetic editing synthesis affects Okoye’s friend, George the albino gorilla, making him grow exponentially and become highly aggressive.
The genetic editing synthesis is an experiment from Energyn, a genetics company in Chicago, called Project Rampage.
Project Rampage was being tested in a space station, but when the station crashes back down to Earth, three pieces of the Project fall to Earth in different places: Los Angeles, the Everglades and Wyoming, affecting George, an alligator and a wolf, respectively.
Rampage causes the animals to grow to the size of a building, and it also causes mutations; the alligator now has a club-tail and armor, and the wolf has porcupine spikes and can fly.
The three animals go to Chicago because Energyn’s CEO Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman) placed a code in Rampage that drives them to stop a low frequency sound emitting from their building, and they’ll destroy anything, even all of Chicago, to make the noise stop, which is where Davis and Dr. Caldwell come in to try to save the day.
“Pacific Rim: Uprising,” on the other hand, is a sequel to the original “Pacific Rim,” and it continues the Jaeger (giant robot warriors) and Kaiju (Alien monsters) battle.
This movie is set 10 years from the first one, with Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), Marshall Pentecost’s son, as the main protagonist, who
joins the Jaeger Pilot’s ranks, after leaving for a period of time, to fight a new danger.
This time, a corporation called Shao Industries created Kaiju-Jaeger hybrids to replace the Jaegers (because that worked the first time),
The hybrids turn into actual Kaijus, and open the Breach (a wormhole connecting the alien world to Earth) to let real Kaijus come to Earth.
Pentecost and his co-pilot (Scott Eastwood), along with a team of new Jaeger cadets, have to kill the Kaijus before they destroy Earth.
These movies, while both about fighting monsters, have different premises, human-made versus alien monsters, and there are other differences that affect each film’s appeal.
Dwayne Johnson is becoming a huge name in sci-fi action movies, and his performance in “Rampage” isn’t disappointing, but it isn’t any different than “San Andreas” (and probably his newest film, “Skyscraper,” set to show in theaters this summer). His character is basically the same person, just with a different backstory, and a thin one at that. We know almost nothing about why he doesn’t like people or about his time in the military.
John Boyega’s character in “Uprising” is no different. While not as big of a name, he is well known for his Star Wars role, and his character also has a thin backstory. The movie doesn’t explain why he wasn’t in the picture during the first “Pacific Rim,” but his sister was.
The visual artistry of the first “Pacific Rim” is present in “Uprising,” as seen in the brilliantly colored panoramic view of Tokyo when Pentecost flies his Jaeger, but, unlike the first “Pacific Rim,” it doesn’t have the Guillermo Del Toro.
The biggest thing “Uprising” has going for it is the fact that it’s a sequel, and they might be making a third based on the cliffhanger at the end.
If you’re a fan of the Pacific Rim World, and the unique designs of the Kaijus and Jaegers, then it’s a perfect movie. “Rampage,” on the other hand, is carried by the name of Dwayne Johnson and Naomie Harris, as well as George the Gorilla’s silver screen debut. He himself, while being CGI, was the whole reason to love the movie; his dry-comedic nature makes you love him, and even when he turns bad, you’re still rooting for him to come back to the good side, which, SPOILER!, he does