Reviews: Rampage

Good for a Boll film, but still excessively lurid and under-developed; very hard to watch

I watched Rampage because I heard that this was Boll's one good film. Going by the low expectations set by his overall body of work, I can say that it is, indeed, a success. That said, I still disliked the film for a number of reasons.

A film like this really has to dig into the character in order to humanise him/her and, unfortunately, the film is a failure on this front. We get a vague sense that Bill's rampage stems from a combination of using conspiracy theories from Coast-to-Coast AM to make sense of his collapsing world, while nursing an entitled, narcissistic streak. That said, the film only gives us a cursory glance into his character and more often than not, he comes across looking more like a petulant child spouting pseudo-intellectual twaddle who happens to have a gun. (Though, to be fair, I suppose a number of real life mass shooters have taken this tack.)

As for the violence and gore, to Boll's credit, I found it highly upsetting, and was sick to my stomach. That said, the motivations for portraying it in the way that he did seem inconsistent. Is it to condemn heavily disproportionate violence? It seems to go on too long, and is all from Bill's POV for that to be the case; plus, it seems that he's (disproportionately) striking back at people who he perceives to have wronged him. (Plus, why let him get away so cleanly?) Then, is it to provide catharsis? The power imbalance is too great and the violence too graphic for it to provide this.

Overall, I felt that Boll had promising ideas in this film, but that it was far more thinly sketched than it needs to be in order to be effective. It is not an enjoyable film, and very difficult to watch—and yet, due to that fact alone, it is a success.