San Andreas, 2015.
Directed by Brad Peyton
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffud, Paul Giamatti, Hugo Johnstone-Burt and Art Parkinson.
In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his daughter.
When going into a disaster movie it’s always best to suspend belief and just go with the flow of the movie, never has that been truer than with San Andreas. After a series of earthquakes and tsunamis devastate California, Dwayne Johnson’s all American rescue pilot goes on a mission to save his daughter.
What can firstly be said about San Andreas is that largely the effects are epic and spectacular on the big screen. Sweeping aerial shots of the destruction go a long way to show the extent of the damage caused and ups the peril for our main characters. Although the action is slightly samey – tremor, building collapse, running, hiding and repeat – San Andreas is silly and it delivers as a standard disaster movie. Whilst it’s not up there with some of the great disaster movies like Independence Day, Deep Impact, Cloverfield etc, it still delivers an enjoyable couple of hours in the cinema.
Acting wise it is Alexandra Daddario as stranded daughter Blake who delivers the best performance in the film. She isn’t the typical stranded attractive girl; she’s resourceful and doesn’t make too many stupid decisions throughout the film. The usually charismatic Dwayne Johnson seems restricted by a poor script on this outing. When we would rather see him undertaking death-defying stunts and making quips, we instead get scene after scene of him and estranged wife Emma (Gugino) discussing their failed marriage and the death of their youngest daughter. Whilst emotion is key to a good disaster film, the dialogue in San Andreas is so clunky that these scenes break up the action and drag. A film like 2012’s The Impossible showed that an emotion heavy disaster film could be successful and deeply moving – San Andreas seems to fall short on both the action and the emotion side.
Paul Giamatti is on hand to act as a Seismologist who can predict earthquakes and he delivers a good performance given the material. Considering the calibre of actor that he is, it’s a shame that we don’t get to see him more throughout. He is instead stuck as the exposition element of the film which is entertaining but not demanding for an actor of his quality
San Andreas isn’t a bad film; it simply pales in comparison to some of its predecessors. It’s packed full of clichés from start to finish and whilst Johnson has proven himself as a charismatic action star, here he is restricted to flying above disaster scenes and having heartfelt conversations. San Andreas is entertaining to watch but ultimately forgettable.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Helen Murdoch is a freelance writer – Follow me on Twitter