Australian Council on Children and the Media

Rampage

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Short takes

Not recommended under 13, parental guidance recommended 13 to15, due to violent and scary scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Rampage
  • a review of Rampage completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 19 April 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to violent and scary scenes and themes
Children aged 13 to 15 Parental guidance recommended due to violent and scary scenes and themes
Viewers aged 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Rampage
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Action violence and sustained threat
Length 107 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film’s opening scene depicts a space station littered with floating dead bodies. We learn that the scientists aboard the space station were conducting genetic editing experiments on animals and that a rat mutated into a monster that has killed all but one of the scientists. The surviving scientist manages to escape the space station before it self-destructs, but on re-entry the escape pod is destroyed and three gene-editing canisters fall to earth. One lands in a wildlife centre in California, affecting a gorilla named George, one in Wyoming affecting a wolf and one in Florida affecting a crocodile.

Davis Okeye (Dwayne Johnson) is a primatologist who has cared for George since he was rescued as an infant from poachers who slaughtered George’s parents. Davis is able to communicate with George via sign language and when Davis arrives at the wildlife centre the following day he immediately notices that something is terribly wrong with George. George has grown considerably bigger overnight and is far more aggressive. 

It is at this point that Dr Kate Cadwell (Naomie Harris) arrives at the animal centre, announcing that she knows what is wrong with George and how to cure him. Kate formally worked for Claire and Brett Wyden (Marlin Akerman and Jake Lacy) the owners of the corporation funding the genetic editing experiments in space. Kate explains to Davis what is happening to George and that the Waydens have a cure at their lab in Chicago.

The remainder of the film features Davis’s race to get to Chicago, as George and the other two monsters rampage out of control.          

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Genetic engineering; cruelty to animals

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains extended sequences of intense violence, including destruction of property, gun related violence, the graphic depiction of violent deaths including blood and gore, injury and death to animals, and rampaging monsters. Examples include:

  • A woman is threatened that if she refuses to risk her life to acquire canisters of samples she will be left to die aboard a space station that is about to explode. 
  • A monstrous genetically-altered rat chases a woman through a burning space station. The woman escapes from the station in an escape pod but this explodes, vaporising the woman inside; we see a brief image of the woman being vaporised. 
  • A giant gorilla (several times normal size) rips a steel seat from the cage and uses it to smash his way out then goes on a rampage, smashing his way out of a building and onto a city street where he terrorizes hundreds of civilians by crashing cars with his fists.
  • A gunman in a helicopter repeatedly shoots tranquilizer darts into the oversized gorilla until it collapses to the ground unconscious. In a later scene we see the  gorilla imprisoned in a steel cage.
  • The giant gorilla breaks out of his cage while being transported aboard a cargo plane.  He throws around and kills several soldiers while automatic weapon fire has no effect on him. Two men and a woman wearing parachutes escape before the plane crashes into the ground and explodes but we hear that the gorilla survived the crash. 
  • Soldiers with automatic weapons hunt down a giant wolf. The wolf attacks and kills the men one by one - we hear the sounds of men screaming and we see brief images of the wolf grabbing men in its jaws and ripping them apart.  Blood sprays across the screen, and the ground is littered with blood covered bodies and body parts. At one point the giant wolf leaps into the air and grabs a man from a helicopter which crashes and explodes in flames. It also picks a man up by his head and apparently eats him, although this is not shown.
  • A woman shoots a man in the stomach in order to make another woman to do what she wants.
  • The film depicts an extended battle between the giant gorilla, wolf and crocodile in which large portions of the city of Chicago are destroyed. The three creatures cause death and mayhem as they climb skyscrapers, throw vehicles around and smash their way through buildings.
  • In a battle between the wolf and the crocodile, the crocodile bites off the wolf’s head, throws it up and then swallows the head whole.
  • The crocodile throws the gorilla against a building and a large metal rode spears the gorilla through its back and chest. The gorilla pulls the rod out, leaving a blood soaked patch behind and then uses the rod to stab the crocodile through its head.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • One scene depicts images of a space station with its interior destroyed and its crew dead. There is a floating dead body with eyes missing and bloody cuts to its face and floating droplets of blood. A woman says “The crew is dead”. 
  • The giant animals are likely to terrify children in this age group. For example, the giant rat has tentacles that grow from its body, a mouth full of sharp pointed teeth and quill-like spines surrounding its neck and tail, and makes a high pitched screeching sound. Explosions engulf the giant rat in fire but it is seemingly unaffected.
  • One scene depicts the giant gorilla with bloody claw wounds across his chest. Lying on the ground near the gorilla is a dead bear and we hear that the gorilla snapped the bear’s neck. 
  • There is a scary-looking man in army fatigues with several large pronounced scars covering his face.
  • One scene depicts a landscape littered with the dead bodies of wolves.
  • Reference is made to poachers killing gorillas and cutting off their hands which they make into ashtrays. One scene depicts an infant gorilla cowering under a car after witnessing his parents being killed by poachers.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

Some flirting

Nudity and sexual activity

A woman wears low-cut clothing

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Animals are shot with tranquiliser guns.
  • Reference is made to “chill pills” as an antidote to aggression cause by genetic modification.

 

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “ damn”; “ hell”;  “shit”; “arsehole”; “crap”; “ Jesus”; “bastards”; “ bitch”; ‘mother fu…..”   
  • A gorilla gives the 'rude finger' several times.

In a nutshell

Rampage is an action adventure based on a 1980’s video game and is targeted at older adolescents and adult fans of the game. The giant rampaging creatures and many violent scenes including graphic blood and gore are likely to terrify younger viewers so it is not recommended for children under 13 and parental guidance is recommended for the 13 to 15 age group.

The main message from this movie is that people will often do and say anything to get what they want.

Parents may wish to discuss some of the ethical issues surrounding the use of genetic engineering. Can the risks be justified if there is a possibility of curing cancer?

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