“Rampage” is a monster movie, and in many ways an old-fashioned one, with a misunderstood ape, not unlike King Kong, a sea monster that’s akin to Godzilla, and with effects that are striking and yet just cheesy enough to be more fun than disturbing. Before casting off every shred of dignity and abandoning itself to good-humored excess, the movie passes itself off as a reasonably serious science fiction movie. George starts getting bigger, and bigger, and the movie starts getting crazier, and crazier. A sober movie about genetics turns into a Dwayne Johnson free-for-all, a little like “San Andreas,” which, like “Rampage,” was directed by Brad Peyton. There is something about Johnson, as a screen entity, that creates a bridge between normal daily life and extreme sci-fi action movie madness. The movie also gets a lift from Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a wily Southern G-man, trying to contain the monster damage, and Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy, as the brother-sister team behind the mayhem. Restraint has no business in a movie with lines like, “We’ve got to get to them before they level Chicago!” ★. Mick LaSalle is The San Francisco Chronicle’s movie critic.

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