Right off the bat, I need you to understand, I do not mean good in terms of Shawshank Redemption good. Good is a very open term, and it tends to be directly proportional with whatever is being discussed at the time. That out of the way, Rampage, when compared to all other Uwe Boll movies, is f*cking Shakespeare. And while this movie has been out since 2009, so I am sure a good deal of you already know this, I only just made myself sit down and watch it this week (because I, literally, have pretty much watched every other movie ever) and I cannot recall being more surprised by a film recently. I know that sounds odd, but to say I detest Uwe Boll movies is to still pay his films a compliment. I don’t detest them. I am at the point when that exerts too much energy. No, rather, I pretend they don’t exist and am much better for it. But like I said, I was out of movies to watch and had just enough weed that I knew I would be able to atleast TOLERATE a Uwe Boll movie. Thing is, when he does violence and horror (for example, Seed), the guy is pretty relentless, so I figured a movie about a disgruntled kid who goes on a killing rampage might be watchable. 90 minutes later, I am trying to rationalize how Uwe Boll actually made a decent movie, yet no one talks about it.
First off, for those who don’t know, Uwe Boll is the outspoken German director known for buying video game licenses and turning them into (god awful) movies. From Alone in the Dark to Bloodrayne, and even decent stories like Far Cry, he just loves to put the stink of shit on already existing properties. And he ties up all his finances in such a way that, somehow, every time, these terrible films turn profit, allowing him to make another one, and another one, and so on. And he is FAMOUS for his hatred of “journalists” like me, who he has, no lie, challenged to fights and hilariously, won. Seriously, that was the first thing that made me look up and say “maybe this dude isn’t so bad”.
The worst part? That finger kind of smells like someone you love.
And then, a few years ago, I watched Postal. The Uwe Boll movie based on the famously offensive game (where you can piss on people after you light them on fire, because frat guys need video games, too!), and oddly enough, I did not despise it. Why? Because I saw what Boll was doing at that point. He was saying “fuck it”, throwing up his hands, and saying: if everyone is gonna hate me anyway and hate all I do, I may as well make it as offensive and easy to hate as possible. Take, for example, the opening scene, which was not long after 9/11. Keep in mind NO ONE jokes about 9/11. No one.
Holy fuck, even I wouldn’t touch that.
Also, the cat silencer, which is one of the things I think of when I am sad, and tend to be less sad afterwards:
Is it stupid? Yes, it’s stupid. But no less stupid or less awesome than Lazer Cats, which was a pretty boss SNL digital short that I won’t link here cuz I don’t want Paul getting sued cuz I love this job. I said that all in one breath.
For a guy like me who grew up on a liberal balance of Naked Gun humor, mixed with Revenge of the Nerds toilet humor, Postal was actually kinda funny, but I didn’t tell anyone that. I just acted offended like everyone else. Yay conformity!
And then I heard about Seed. Oh man, Seed. Seed is a fucked up movie. There is really nothing else to say. Is it terrible? Is it good? All I can tell you it is extreme. Like, real extreme. At points, too extreme. But again, I started to understand Boll more. He was getting away from the video game stuff it seemed, and getting more into “wanna see how bad I can fuck you up” territory. You guys know I like messed up shit, so…
I could DEFINITELY do without the footage of animal cruelty, though. That shit is inexcusable to me. Do what you want to humans, we are a stain. But leave our pets alone.
But after Seed, I was all set with Boll. I just kinda knew what he was doing, and got back to focusing on films and filmmakers I adore. Then, this week, like I told you, I ran out of movies, and found Rampage on Netflix, and went into it blind. Truth is, I was kinda hoping for a movie version of the old game where you played as giant monsters, wrecking the city, one building at a time.
I spent my allowance on this game in quarters, weekly, for a good year of my life, and find no shame in admitting that.
But it was not a movie remake of that awesome game. No, this was a stand alone movie about a young guy going on a, well, rampage. But even as I sat down, I found myself laughing out loud at the memory of Tara Reid as a scientist in Alone in the Dark. I, literally, felt myself hating Rampage before it even began, based on who made it. Then it actually began. And, for whatever reason, I found myself utterly entranced by the interactions between the main character in the movie and his parents. I found myself wondering, based on how seemingly healthy their relationship was, if this was the kid who was gonna go on the rampage. It didn’t make sense to me. But that, alone, was enough for me to know I was pulled in, right away.
I pretended this was the cast of Real Housewives, and it made this scene actually kind of enjoyable.
What are this kid’s motives gonna be? And we see, in the slightest terms, the things that set him off. For example, and no joke here, a lack of foam on his espresso (or machiado, or whatever the fuck it is). First world problems at their finest. But then it hit me. This was supposed to be mindless. We see how the media plays into violence and feeds and perpetuates it, and we get the idea that most twisted part about all of this is that this kid’s life wasn’t actually bad at all.
But that was all done on purpose. Well, here is the redband trailer, which is, to say, pretty much the entirety of the story, with some key elements left out.
I would have cut the trailer differently, though. The rap rock song takes away an impact of the violence and, ironically ,makes it seem like a video game.
Okay, so a movie about an entitled kid losing his mind and killing a bunch of people. What makes that good? Well, the movie has a twist, and while I should have seen it coming, I didn’t, and found it (GASP) very well written and well executed (wordplay 101). I know, I am shocked as you all, which is why I am writing this. I won’t ruin anything about said twist, but will tell you, it works incredibly well, whether you hate Uwe Boll or not. I even wrote to Paul (E.I.C of this lovely site) to MAKE SURE he was okay with me saying Uwe Boll made a good movie, and saying it on his site, and even Paul concurred that Rampage was (again, gasp)a good movie. Yes, it still feels weird typing that, 1000 words later.
Man, graphics HAVE gotten pretty good.
So I ask you all to please not pull my writer cred for saying any of this. Truth is, I wanted to say it here because I felt all us gamer nerds are so quick to scream about how much Uwe Boll sucks, but how come the one time he makes a poignant and interesting (albeit violent and disturbing) film, is no one talking about it? I know why, actually. It was the feeling of doubt I got as I sat down to write this. Will people make fun of me? Will people say I suck and have no place ever talking about movies again? These are things that went through my head as I started putting this piece together. Thing is, some of you might think those things about me after this, and I guess I have to take that risk. Writing is not about always saying what people want to hear. Sometimes, it’s about saying what people need to hear, despite how they may look at you after it.
Seriously, though, be gentle.
And give Boll some credit. Rampage is a fucked up film, but also, an enjoyable film and an interesting examination of violence in the media and malcontent youth in America. Two things I can relate to all too well.
It’s all part of the plan….