New Dwayne Johnson movie Rampage is based on a 1980s video game about giant creatures terrorising a city by tearing down buildings and eating people. Those monsters were a giant ape, werewolf, and lizard, and they appear onscreen as an oversized gorilla, wolf, and crocodile.
The film also features a terrific, ongoing Easter Egg that hardcore fans of the game will recognise. One that seems like it’s building up to something special. Only to climax with a whimper rather than a bang.
But be warned, there are SPOILERS AHEAD as we reveal all…
The Big Rat
There were only three creatures in the major Rampage releases. But the Atari Lynx version of the game added a fourth. In the shape of a giant rat called Larry.
And there’s a giant rat at the start of the movie adaptation. The result of a genetic editing experiment carried out on a space station, the beastly rodent has killed the crew, and is now on the loose.
Which leads to a terrifying chase through zero gravity as the surviving human endeavours to secure test samples before making her escape. And ends with them both blowing up in space.
The Little Rat
But that isn’t the only rodent action in Rampage. The film’s villain Claire Wyden (Malin Akerman) has a pet rat in her office, which she makes a big point of feeding early in proceedings. And in spite of the fact that it doesn’t do much, said rat keeps getting mentioned and referenced throughout the rest of the movie.
When Johnson enters Wyden’s building he says, “Looks like our rat’s here.” Then, when Claire endeavours to escape towards the end of the film, her brother yells, “I’ve got your rat!”
He carries it to the top of the skyscraper in a perspex case so the audience can’t really miss the creature. Then, when the Wyden plan doesn’t work, he carries it down 80 flights of stairs to make an alternative escape.
But no luck, as shady government agent Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is waiting for him. Admiring the rat. And asking him to “leave the little fella with me.”
What Happens Next?
All of which seems to be setting something up. Indeed, with wolf and crocodile dead at the end of the movie — and George the gorilla back to his chilled self — the most obvious scenario would be for our furry friend to start mutating in some government lab. Thereby setting up a sequel, either at the very end of the film, or via a post-credit sting.
But such a scene never appears, meaning the audience never gets that pay-off. Making the presence of both rats a nice nod to that Atari Lynx iteration of the game, but a strange outlier in the context of the film. The lack of resolution for the little dude seeming like a missed opportunity. And making Rampage strangely open-ended if you are following that journey.