In San Andreas, Dwayne Johnson (Furious 7) plays a Helicopter Rescue Pilot caught in the midst of the largest earthquake ever recorded. He along with his ex-wife must travel to San Francisco to find and save their daughter.
Brad Peyton (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore) directs this disaster flick and its unarguably his best film to date, but that doesn't necessarily make this a great film. San Andreas is cliched, over the top, filled with coincidence but it's still an entertaining ride.
Mere hours before these disastrous quakes begin, two seismologists, one played by the great Paul Giamatti (Saving Mr Banks), have discovered a way to predict incoming ground movements. Just as they make this incredible breakthrough, the Hoover Dam cracks and explodes in an exciting and quite distressing scene. After this, the earthquakes come thick and fast and we're straight into the action.
Ray Gaines (Johnson) is a Rescue Helicopter Pilot who is sent into duty soon after the first earthquake hits. He rescues his estranged ex wife played quite well by Carla Gugino (Watchmen) from a skyscraper rooftop and they travel together cross country to find their only daughter, Blake played by True Detective's Alexandra Daddario.
Hollywood loves disaster flicks, following a group of people through an almost impossible to survive situation can be gripping when done right and for a lot of San Andreas that is achieved.
Dwayne Johnson who yet again proves himself to be one of the most likable and charismatic actors in Hollywood today does a great job and is the best reason to go out and see San Andreas. Not only does he perfect his action scenes as always, but does a great job in the more dramatic and emotion heavy moments too. It's an added bonus that the actor has great chemistry with both Gugino and Daddario.
There are really three different stories here; Johnson and Gugino finding their daughter, Giamatti warning the world of incoming quakes and then Daddario trying to find a safe haven along with two British males on Holiday. Johnson and Daddario's stories both come together towards the end but Giamatti's really went nowhere. His role was clearly there just to offer context and explanation of events to us, the audience. Daddario's story doesn't carry the same emotional weight that Johnson's and Gugino's does, some of this may be acquitted to the poor performances of her British co-stars.
Visually, San Andreas is a mixed bag. Often the movie will dazzle and astound with its fantastic visuals, one of the most memorable being a cruise ship hurtling through the city of San Francisco. But other than these gigantic set pieces, the visuals don't really match up with most other modern Blockbusters. The green screen is too obvious and characters sometimes look a bit stiff and robotic when surrounded by nothing but CGI.
Towards the end of the film, the film puts too much focus on this family of three, I no longer felt the global implications of this disaster, which is what the film did really well within its first act.
The story is unoriginal, predictable and the action becomes tedious after a good while. But there's enough here to sustain enjoyment for the 114 minute run-time. San Andreas accepts itself as a ridiculous, over the top disaster flick and has fun with it. Johnson really anchors the piece, bringing enough charm, muscle and drama to make San Andreas a mostly entertaining watch.
Have you seen San Andreas? If so, let me know what you thought about the movie in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97