Possible spoilers ahead!
Geeze, its been a tough year for the city of San Francisco. First Godzilla and friends have a battle royal in China Town. Then, those damn dirty apes ran amok all over the city. Now, San Francisco is in the bullseye of the biggest earthquake in recorded history. That’s right boys and girls, uncle Maz saw “Sand Andreas.”
Anywho, after years of service in Afghanistan, Ray Gaines (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) has returned home, and is now working as a Los Angeles Fire Department chief rescue-helicopter pilot. Gaines is about to take some much deserved time off, so that he can accompany his smoking hot daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), to her first week of college. Those plans change when a massive earthquake destroys Hoover Dam and surrounding areas, and Ray and his rescue team is called in to help evacuate survivors.
Unfortunately, the Hoover Dam quake is only the first in a string of tremors along the San Andreas fault. Each quake is growing in magnitude, and as the danger spreads along the fault line, Ray embarks on a solo mission to save his estranged wife, Emma (Carla Gugino), and Blake – who is now trapped in San Francisco, soon to be the epicenter of a record-breaking earthquake.
Director Brad Peyton’s “San Andreas” is a movie with ridiculous moments, loud explosions, cliches, and is overloaded with CGI effects. However, “San Andreas” is also the perfect action popcorn summer blockbuster we didn’t know we needed. This movie was awesome, and its all thanks to it cast.
Dwayne Johnson could have gone the Sly Stallone way and made his character one-dimensional. Instead, Johnson does a great job portraying Ray as a man trying to keep his family together after a tragedy. The film’s script allows Johnson room to be vulnerable and courageous at the same time, and provides the audience with a relatable hero.
There’s also plenty of back story given to ensure viewers will want to root for him in both his personal life, and his professional life. This may sound crazy, but “San Andreas” may be The Rock’s best action job to date.
Carla Gugino’s Emma is not your typical damsel in distress female lead. Guginoe keeps up with the Rock for the entire film, and even has her own action moments to shine. The two have great chemistry together (Why wouldn’t they, this is their third movie working together) and they perfectly embody a couple who must work together in a time of crisis to save their child.
Gugino also has one of the best one liners in the movie when she leaves a voicemail for her fiance. I only hope this leads to many more big roles for Carla Gugino, because she has been underrated for years.
The stunning Alexandra Daddario also makes the most of her role, and even though Blake may be in need of fatherly rescue, she is far from helpless. She even managed to drop a few real-life survival tips along the way.
Blake’s friendship with a pair of European brothers (Hugo Johnstone-Burt and Art Parkinson) never goes for the teen melodrama you’d expect. And the trio delivers a mix of standout scenes (both charming and thrilling) and even give us a few laughs. By the time the dust settles, the group’s bond feels real.
Paul Giamatti’s Caltech seismologist and Archie Panjabi’s TV anchorwoman are isolated from the main cast (and the massive quake) but succeed extremely well in educating viewers on the science of earthquake behavior while also showing heartfelt reaction to the circumstances of (and victims caught in) the massive tremors. However, I would have loved at least one scene between Giamatti and the Rock.
If you’re looking for an accurate earthquake depiction, I’m sure there are plenty of documentaries out there for you to see. If you’re just looking for a fun action packed couple of hours, “San Andreas” is the perfect movie for you.
“San Andreas” final score: 9