San Andreas Review

The Plot

It’s The Rock vs Earthquakes (yes, plural!). When a massive earthquake hits California, Ray, a rescue-chopper pilot (Dwayne Johnson) must make his way through the city to save his estranged wife and daughter.

The Good

The first thing that needs to be said about this latest addition to the disaster movie genre is that it will only truly work if you have a good audience along for the ride. Opening with a rescue scene featuring a car trapped on the side of a mountain, San Andreas doesn’t really slow down from there. Dwayne Johnson barely has to prove he has the right physique for this role. One look at him and you can instantly believe he can pilot a helicopter, drive a boat and generally overshadow every other father before him in an attempt to save his family.

There’s no need to pay extra for a motion seat in the cinema either. Every time a quake hits (and there are a good few) you’ll hear it, see it, and feel it throughout your entire body. In fact the people in the screen next door will probably feel it too. San Andreas is unashamedly big and is certainly not the worst way to spend 2 hours.

The Bad

Considering that one of the problems with Mad Max, the other big action blockbuster still making the rounds at the moment, is the storyline or rather lack thereof, ironically one of the problems with San Andreas is the use of it. Or rather the overuse. While Paul Giamatti runs around providing constant exposition for us, Johnson is stuck struggling with a soap opera in amongst the rubble. His ex wife (Carla Gugino)  is dating a not so fantastic architect (Ioan Gruffudd) who promptly ditches his daughter to fend for herself along with a cute british lad and his brother (Hugo Johnstone-Burt and Art Parkinson) in a sub plot that you can see coming a mile away.

Compared to the credible blockbuster action, the human drama is full of laugh out loud moments. Don’t go into it looking for anything else.

The Ugly Truth

Johnson does a good job as action hero, but that’s to be expected. At its heart, San Andreas is really just a big rumbling ball of fun and any attempt to look deeper for something more serious is blocked out by biceps, collapsing buildings and a huge star spangled patriotic American flag.

Review by Johnny Ellis

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