Rampage Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

When three different animals become infected with a dangerous pathogen, a primatologist and a geneticist team up to stop them from destroying Chicago.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

92

Details:

Studio and Year: Warner – 2018
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 108 minutes
Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Action

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Ackerman, Jake Lacy
Directed by: Brad Peyton
Music by: Andrew Lockington
Written by: Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal, dam Sztykiel
Region Code: A

Release Date: July 17, 2018

“Big Meets Bigger”

My Take:

In Rampage Dwayne Johnson stars as primatologist Davis Okoye, a man who keeps people at a distance but shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, incredibly rare albino silverback gorilla who has been in his care since he rescued the young orphan from poachers. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size.

To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals. As these newly created super creatures tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with discredited geneticist Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.

I am a fan of Dwayne Johnson and pretty much any movie that involves monsters leveling cities. Put the two together and I can be pretty forgiving of the types of plot holes and general absurdity that usually accompany these type of popcorn flicks. However, there has to be some modicum of thought that goes into the narrative framework so as to present viable characters and reasonable context, even if it stretches the boundaries of sense.

Right from the opening sequence in Rampage it became clear that checking one’s brain at the door was going to be difficult. The film continually bombards you with preposterous elements that keep you accurately predicting what will happen next while asking aloud, really? four writers came up with that? Beginning with an implausible concept, and poorly shaped characters, the plot revisits themes we’ve seen before, by glossing over the elements necessary to make for even a fair foundational story. On top of that, the attempts to interweave meaningful drama and humor, miss altogether, leaving a hodgepodge of a movie, that resulted in constant eyerolling.

Dwayne Johnson was fine but, pretty much phoned it in based on what he was given to work with. Naomie Harris and Malin Ackerman were completely wasted. As for Jeffrey Dean Morgan, he ruined every scene he was in. He is a one trick pony and simply rehashed the character he plays on “The Walking Dead”. The production elements aren’t terrible, but this one doesn’t smack of a big-ticket blockbuster with an unlimited budget either. I typically enjoy these types of films and while I didn’t hate Rampage I found little about it that kept me engaged.

Replay Value: 2.5 Stars

Parental Guide:

The rating is for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief language and crude gestures.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

Rampage comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD, Rampage was derived from a 3.4K/6.5K sources, and rendered from a 2K DI.

The 1080p transfer of Rampage is a good one and this Ultra HD rendering takes it up a notch with a discernible increase in detail and visual depth. This film makes use of a variety of lighting schemes, and when called for, the cinematography makes use of shadows, cascading/streaming light and a mix of light/dark elements. It’s application here is used well drawing upon HDR’s ability to create stark contrast between the two. The use of shadows mixed with light looked very natural.

The film utilizes various chromatic schemes, with a cooler overall visual aesthetic, that appears faithfully reproduced in Ultra HD. The nature of the photography didn’t always allow the wide color gamut to shine, but, scenes like the first one the nature preserve, in the field with the plane wreckage, or atop the tower in Chicago, revealed richer earth toned hues and lush color. Close ups offer fine detail rendering and, appreciable chromatic delineation in the skin tones and costumes worn by the cast.

Based upon the quality of the original source the difference between viewing Rampage in high definition, and Ultra HD isn’t broad but, the upgrade is a discernible one that makes it worth considering.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for Rampage, I found the HDR applications to be close but, the Dolby Vision presentation edged out the HDR-10 rendering. This came primarily in the form of increased delineation in the variants of primary colors like green and red. I also thought that specular highlights were slightly more gradational and lifelike. In most respects each of these presentations share many of the same positive attributes. I suspect that those capable of viewing it in Dolby Vision will find it to be just a notch above.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be an entertaining listening experience that made excellent use of the platform. The immersive mix compliments the already top-notch soundtrack and enhances the experience of watching the film. You get a taste of what is to come with the opening sequence that takes place on the space station. The use of audio objects placed above, and at ear level is a mix of atmospherics, discrete effects, and music. This is done to excellent effect and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events. The film’s active moments, swallow you up as the revolving, rotating and all-encompassing surround sound comes at you from all sides.

There is also much to enjoy in scenes that aren’t actively intense as smaller elements in the background are articulated and dimensionally full. In general, this Dolby Atmos mix made for an involving surround sound experience. I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere and discrete object placement.

** It should be noted that the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack is the default audio option. Listening to the Dolby Atmos mix requires entering the audio set up menu and manually selecting it.**

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

 

[b]Audio: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialogue Reproduction: 

 

Rampage comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video, lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound, and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This is an excellent high definition rendering that sports plenty of fine detail and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective. Colors range from warm and vivid to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages.  I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. Rampage looks great on Blu-ray.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack (as well as the 7.1 Dolby True HD Atmos core) feature crystal clear dialog, robust dynamics and when called upon, an engaging surround sound mix. I was impressed with the implementation of both spacial dimension, and directional effects. This worked hand in hand with a resonating and potent low end, and rousing music, that underscored the film’s thematic tone. I found this to be an involving audio presentation that complimented the video resulting in an entertaining viewing experience that enhanced the source material. For those so equipped, I preferred the 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD sound over the 5.1 channel mix.

** It should be noted that the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack is the default audio option. Listening to the Dolby Atmos mix requires entering the audio set up menu and manually selecting it.**

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Rampage Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Rampage Blu-ray
    • Not A Game Anymore – From arcade sensation to movie monster epic, we explore how the Midway video game inspired the filmmakers to create the ultimate disaster film.
    • Gag Reel – Hilarious outtakes and mishaps captured during production.
    • Deleted Scenes – Deleted scenes that barely missed the final theatrical cut.
    • Rampage – Actors in Action: Strap in for a wild ride as Dwayne Johnson, Joe Manganiello and the cast prepare for the film’s demanding stunts and explosive set pieces.
    • Trio of Destruction – Follow the innovative design team and the artists at Weta Digital as they bring to life the biggest and baddest monsters for the film’s climactic battle royal.
    • Attack on Chicago – Director Brad Peyton reveals the challenges of filming on-location in Chicago and turning digital destruction into a cinematic reality.
    • Bringing George to Life – Discover the wonder of what it’s like to be a gorilla, as movement coordinator Terry Notary teaches actor Jason Liles how to move, behave and become “George.”
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Rampage is a poorly crafted sci-fi/monster/action movie that strove to be more but, lacked a script capable of delivering a story that provides the kind of mindless entertainment that genre junkies can simply sit back and take in. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack featuring solid Ultra HD video, in HDR-10 and Dolby Vision flavors, excellent high definition audio/video, a terrific Dolby Atmos sound mix, and a fair supplemental set. I suspect that forgiving genre fans can overlook Rampage’s shortcomings, so in that vein it’s potentially worth picking up for the right price. For those that aren’t so inclined, a rental is definitely recommended before purchase.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems 

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