San Andreas

WRITTEN BY: Carlton Cuse
DIRECTED BY: Brad Peyton
STARRING: Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Carla Gugino
RATING: 2.5 stars

After a massive earthquake hits California, rescue helicopter pilot Ray (Dwayne Johnson) travels across the state to save his estranged wife Emma (Carla Gugino) and daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario). Blake joins forces with English visitor Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and his little brother Ollie (Art Parkinson) as they try to seek refuge and wait to be rescued. Meanwhile, scientist Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) believes there are more devastating earthquakes to come and is interviewed by journalist Serena (Archie Panjabi) about the impeding disaster in an attempt to warn the community.

You know that saying, "It's so bad, it's good"? Well that is exactly how I felt about San Andreas. It is ridiculous, hilarious and corny. Unlike a lot of blockbuster disaster films, Ray is not trying to save the world, he just wants to rescue his family. In an attempt to add depth to the story, Ray is also haunted by an incident in his past where he was unable to save his other daughter from drowning. Unfortunately, there are several heart-to-heart moments between Ray and Emma discussing this tragic past that are badly timed. If you are struggling to stay alive and rescue your daughter, is that really the right time to talk about your dead daughter? It is also interesting that there are not really any bodies lying around even though a lot of people have clearly been killed during the earthquakes. However, given the recent devastation in Nepal, this is probably a good thing. This is unashamedly an action film and should not be offensive to people. The CGI is also quite good and there are a few moments that are quite suspenseful.

Even though Johnson cannot act, it seems most people are quite forgiving of this fact, probably because he looks the part of an action hero and appears to be a nice guy. Gugino spends much of her time being there just to show Ray's softer side, which is a shame. Daddario had some tough and clever moments, but did her clothes have to be so tight? She looked a little too glamorous for someone fighting to survive. She did however have good chemistry with Johnstone-Burt and Parkinson. Giamatti is a better actor than his role gives him credit for and Panjabi is also wasted. Small roles have been given to Ioan Gruffard as Emma's selfish new partner, Kylie Minogue in a funny turn as his snobby sister and Colton Haynes as Ray's colleague.

I am sure this film will do well, despite the fact that it is not very good.