With Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexadra Daddario, Paul Giamatti, Ioan Gruffudd
Written by Carlton Cuse
Directed by Brad Peyton
This big budget disaster film-by-numbers smacks of Roland Emmerich (though he's not involved, another Emmerich, is one of the executive producers!).
With his action-hero persona well established, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson seems to go through the motions effortlessly (and sometimes predictably) as Ray, a helicopter rescue pilot who finds himself in the middle of the most extreme earthquake disaster the San Andreas fault on the California coat ever experienced.
Intersecting story lines has Ray trying to reach his estranged wife separated from their daughter in San Francisco, and a seismic expert discovering the impending disaster. (With a backstory of a tragedy tearing Ray and his wife apart, and a new boyfriend who is less than worthy to take his place, the outcoem is obvious).
Amid tectonic shift, collapsing buildings, craters, tsunamis, the engulfing of general panic-filled disaster and death, the soppy family situation gets milked thoroughly, setting the viewer up for big cheers when the reunion is complete after many digitally enhanced close calls.
The movie may have a few plot-holes, disregard many laws of physics and hit cliches or go beyond far-fetched at times, but that doesn't really matter, as it will have the audience in its invigorating energy grip, with heroics amid visual peril - However, something that really bugged me was the often unconvincing CGI effects, even with its $110 million budget far too many collapsing buildings and smoke looked too fake, failing to pull me into its reality, killing the moment.
3 / B
- Paul Blom