Rampage Connects Real Science with Thriller Plots

The new movie Rampage may look like your normal thriller, but there’s more grounded science than you may think.


The new movie Rampage may look like your normal thriller, but there’s more grounded science than you may think. Rampage is a new movie based on the Rampage video game from the 1980s, where monsters attack a city together. While the new Rampage movie does  have that scene, the plot is way more complex than that. Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) is a primatologist at the San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary. He takes care of a rare albino gorilla named George, who knows sign language. The two are very close, but when George gets infected with a mysterious toxin that fell from the sky, all bets are off. Changes to his body and his temperament skyrocket out of control. Davis enlists the help of the discredited geneticist Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) to get his friend back to normal. To make matters worse, other animals have been infected as well. Davis races to find an antidote for his friend before George is forced to level a city

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Rampage has lots of elements of your average thriller; crazy stunt scenes, giant monsters, and insane odds. If you look deeper, however, you’ll see different ideas imbued in the plot as well. The connection Davis shares with George, even after he went rage mode, makes it so the main goal isn’t to take down the monsters: it’s to get a friend back. Also, the facts in Rampage are more than fiction. For example, George knowing sign language is completely realistic. Koko is a real gorilla raised in the San Francisco Zoo, and knows hundreds of signs in the modified version of ASL. Gorillas are totally able to learn sign language. The movie also uses new theories in genetics (like CRISPR gene editing, though right now we can only modify a cell at a time) as the reasoning for the animals’ mutations, and because of this, the movie could also serve as a warning against tampering with DNA sequencing.

I really enjoyed Rampage, and it is a movie worth seeing. But I should mention that Rampage definitely earned its PG-13 rating, because of the startling action scenes, the gore, and the crude language and humor. These factors may be a deterrent for some, but people who can overlook them will really enjoy the message and theme of the plot. The inner message is very heartwarming and benevolent, though it is wrapped in rather vulgar content.