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Soundtrack review: Rampage (Andrew Lockington – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Rampage (Andrew Lockington – 2018)

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“Rampage” is a 2018 American science fiction monster film directed by Brad Peyton, loosely based on the video game series of the same name by Midway Games. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Åkerman, Joe Manganiello, Jake Lacy, Marley Shelton, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It follows a primatologist named Davis Okoye who must team up with George, an albino gorilla who turns into a raging creature of enormous size following a rogue experiment, in order to stop an invasion of monsters. Andrew Lockington wrote the score, someone I would always trust with a fantasy or adventure movie score. I think this counts.

Since I have a bit of a fetish, to put it mildly, for huge monster movies I definitely can’t wait to see this one, especially since it stars the world’s most charming movie star, The Rock. The score opens with “Space” which sounds like a mysterious prologue that borders on horror music. It’s Andrew Lockington so the suspenseful texture gets some orchestral additions and a beautiful soft ethnical choir in “Gorillas”. This is the first surprise of the score, the vocal parts which are really beautiful and evoke Africa for me. “Paavo” is another cue that benefits from this. I must admit I came into this score expecting full blown action / adventure and in the opening parts the music is quiet and sensible, almost tender. “Calm” is a goose bump moment as the dense emotional tone reminds me of Michael Giacchino’s “War for the planet of the apes” which was my favourite score of 2017.

These are the more remarkable moments of “Rampage” as a lot of it stays in that generic mostly electronic action zone that is OK to listen to but not riling or exciting. Maybe generic isn’t the right word, but it’s a sound that lacks an identity. It’s bombastic but thin and it’s a bit of a surprise for me as it sounds more towards a medium electric sLorne Balfe or Steven Jablonsky sound than the adventurous orchestral frenzy I expected from Andrew Lockington. There are moments like “C17” when the pounding action gets my attention and having watched so many movies of this kind I know it will enhance the movie viewing experience. This is the kind of cue I love no matter what. I actually tried a little experiment at the second listen of this score, to do something else while listening to it and see when it just grabs me from whatever I am doing and pulls me back, like an imaginary EKG. It happened during “C17” and whenever the choral work showed up.

“Rampage” the score provides the extra thrills to made the monster film work even better but as a standalone listening experience I expected more. A lot of the cues sounded alike and the music became repetitive from a point on which made me lose some of the interest. It is a solid action score but without any themes or a clear identity of its own. I wish those “Apes” like emotional motifs had been explored more and, strange as it seems for a RCP fan like myself, that Andrew Lockington had written a score more in his style. I am getting my RCP fix from so many other composers these days.

Cue rating: 76 / 100

Highlights:
Calm
C17
Showdown
Requiem

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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