Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rampage: Review of Uwe Boll's Terrifying Character Study

Rampage: Uwe Boll's character story of youth without hope | A Constantly Racing Mind I literally had to go through hell to get a hold of a copy of Uwe Boll's latest film, "Rampage," and I am glad I did.  I went to several video stores, where they only stocked one or two copies that were already checked out from the first day of release.  Then the DVD I finally rented, didn't play on two of my three players. Uwe Boll is the director of films such as "BloodRayne," and "Alone in the Dark," to name two of his more popular bad movies titles.  With a name like "Rampage," one would expect a mindless killer on the loose; however, I can assure that is not the case.  Although "Rampage" exhibits video game like killing, there is a story, and engaging characters to go along with the story.  Starring and co-producing Brendan Fletcher ("Freddy vs. Jason") is Bill Williamson, a 23-year-old kid with too much time on his hands.

Living at home with his mom and dad, Bill Williamson spends his time working out, listening to talk radio, and works fixing cars.  Boll works hard in the first 15 minutes of the film hammering into our heads that Bill is like a stick of dynamite waiting to explode.  Quick frenetic cuts of the carnage to come, Bill is exercising, with audio overlays of radio talk show flipping from station to station as the speakers talk of the war in Iraq, a large oil spill (too soon for the Gulf coast), global warming, pollution, garbage on the beach, and invading Iraq for the oil.  Bill's stressor comes when during a rushed morning breakfast with his dad played by Matt Frewer ("Max Headroom") and his mom by Linda Boyd ("Damage" - 2009); they tell him that his time has come to move on, and to move out.  Brendan Fletcher is excellent as the disaffected young man, with no prospects, surrounded by parents who are too busy to see what he is up to.  They book an appointment with him to talk about his moving out later at dinner as they rush out to their corporate jobs.  Fletcher is shorter than his parents and most of the cast, and Fletcher plays Bill as a cocky kid with a seemingly victim mentality.  Boll has a keen intuition showing little gestures in Bill, like the turning of a cup of latte macchiato made for him badly at a coffee house inciting a small name-calling incident.  You know Bill is coming back later.  Meeting his friend Evan Drince (Shaun Sipos), to pick up some packages Bill had delivered to Evan's address for him, they have lunch at fast-food chicken stand, and the guys have a conversation where Evan expresses Ewe Boll's ideology behind this film.  "Leavers co-exist with the environment while Takers...  Drive around in Ferrari's."  Bill and Evan discuss plans for going paint balling the next day, before the boys go their separate ways.  At this point, I have one word for Mr. Boll, tripod. Many directors adopt the   documentary film style  to give their films an edgy independent feel, in the case of "Rampage" is annoying disrupting a simple conversation.  The slightest movement by the camera operator holding the weight of the camera is disturbing.  Coming home at night to parents who are already sipping their after work wine, ask Bill where was he and why didn't he come home to discuss his moving out.  Bill promises them a surprise in the morning, telling them they will be happy with his announcement.  Planning and scheming Bill works on his Kevlar suit and images of the killings flashing heighten the tension.  The actual rampage that Bill goes on is the release.

Rampage: Brendan Fletcher as Bill Williamson | A Constantly Racing Mind

This is a good film, a good story, excellent character development with a clever ending, which was not what I was expecting from Ewe Boll.  The film only suffers in the area of shaky camera syndrome and some rough editing that creates too much of a jumpy affect.  Boll and Fletcher in now way make Bill a sympathetic character in any way; however, they do show that he is a character in control.  While going through the Bingo hall filled with elderly patrons oblivious to the carnage outside, and utterly ignoring the man in full-body armor, they continue calling numbers despite Bill's interruptions.  Bill leaves, shaking his head, "they don't need my help."  The mom and dad characters portray a family where they leave their only son to himself until he is 23 then told to leave.  Sipos plays the radical friend Evan well, while the Sheriff, played by Michael Paré is only incidental and a waste of talent.  Unfortunately, Uwe Boll has written a perfect how-to film on domestic terrorism and what areas to hit first in a town.  Bill starts his rampage by taking out the police station, and then heads out to take his vengeance on the town.  Bill stops shortly at a hair salon, holding the women hostage while he drinks some water, leaving the girls unharmed - sort of.  

The full body armored suit designed for "Rampage" is impressive and if the North Hollywood bank robbers had this suit they would probably be alive, and in prison today.  Filmed in Vancouver, doubling for Tenderville Oregon, Boll takes advantage of the green forest surroundings for part of the film surprise ending.  Uwe Boll's "Rampage" is not for the faint of heart, and one should watch this film for Brendan Fletcher's acting and for Boll's story.  While the production value of the film suffers for the lack of tracks and camera dollies, the film on a whole is a pleasant surprise for action, thriller fans.

Movie Data
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Year:  2010
Staring:  Brendan Fletcher, Shaun Sipos, Michael Paré, Matt Frewer, Lynda Boyd, Robert Clarke
Director: Uwe Boll
Producer(s): Uwe Boll, Shawn Williamson
Writer: Uwe Boll
Rating: R
Running Time: 85 minutes
Release Date: 4/29/2010
Originally published by Robert Barbere on Associated Content on 6/17/2010

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