Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, Joe Manganiello, Jake Lacy
Director: Brad Peyton
Rating: * * *
Neither ape nor man disappoints in this adaptation of the classic 1980s arcade video game about primates and monsters ravaging cities. Action A-lister Dwayne Johnson, “The Rock” stars as the heroic homo sapiens who cherishes a close connect with a four-legged furry friend.
Johnson is Davis Okoye, a primatologist and loner who prefers the company of animals over people; one animal in particular with whom he has a special rapport – a clever albino gorilla whom he had rescued as an orphan from poachers.
So far so good. But as it happens in paradise from time immemorial, a scientific experiment goes wrong, horribly wrong and mutates the gentle ape; not into an even more intelligent, almost human creature as in Planet of the Apes, but a marauding monster (hence the title) Worse still, the “experiment” metamorphoses other animals into mind-boggling giant predators bent on destruction.
Okoye joins hands with discredited geneticist Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) to secure an antidote which will, hopefully, halt a global catastrophe and save his erstwhile ape friend. Will Caldwell redeem herself? Will Davis re-establish the old bond? Expectedly, the real antagonists are two-legged: notably, Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman) who is responsible for the mutation. And then, there’s federal agent Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) Expectedly again, there’s lots of adrenaline-fuelled action as the CGI beasties (one of which is particularly fearsome to behold) go on the titular rampage.