James Cox reviews Dwayne Johnson's latest action blockbuster San Andreas, and argues that if it’s an intricate plot full of twists and turns that you’re looking for, it's probably not the film for you.
However as an entertaining way to spend an evening or a rainy Sunday, you could do much worse.
The film centres on Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) a helicopter rescue pilot. Ray is a bonafide star in his line of work we’re told, having made over 600 rescues during his service.
Ray is struggling to deal with his ex-wife’s engagement to a new multi-millionaire husband. Our hero has the chance to save the day when his daughter becomes stranded in San Francisco following a series of earthquakes which erupt on the San Andreas Fault.
You may be thinking this action plot is ominously similar to that of Liam Neeson’s Taken, with an action hero dad setting out to save his daughter. Well yes and no, you would be partially right. However, aside from the family dynamic, the two films don’t have much else in common.
There is also a scientific side to the film with a sub plot of a cosmic seismologist Lawrence (played well be Paul Giamatti) explaining how these earthquakes came about. This adds to the plot, but honestly this film is all about the special effects.
The Rock plays the kick ass hero as we’ve seen him do so many times before, literally defying logic at times to avoid crumbling buildings and even a spectacular tsunami.
You really have to see the film in 3D, it would be a shame to miss out on the excellent effects which are its standout feature.
The producers left nothing wanting in the chaos that we see on screen with the complete destruction of San Francisco. Some of the panoramic views of the broken city are scarily realistic.
Alexandra Daddario puts in a performance which will only boost her career as Ray’s daughter Blake, but perhaps the standout performance comes from an unexpected source in young newcomer Art Parkinson.
The young English actor plays Ollie the little brother of Blake’s love interest, and puts in a quirky and mature performance beyond his years.
The opening scene of destruction sees the Hoover Dam destroyed in the first earthquake. This scene is visually spectacular and perhaps the most impressive, but far from the last scene of carnage we will see.
It’s worth going to see San Andreas in the cinema because it’s the kind of film you really need to see on the big screen.
The critics have been condemning San Andreas as a typical disaster movie. Granted, it’s hard to argue with this. However, if you ignore your inner movie critic and just take it as what it is, you will enjoy it.
San Andreas does what it says on the tin - it’s an action movie. It’s not for everyone, but it is undoubtedly entertaining.
It is everything you’d expect from a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson movie, and he puts in a solid performance, pardon the pun.
However, the younger actors in the cast also do very well. These performances provide another aspect to the film other than utter destruction.
But hey, what’s wrong with utter destruction in an action movie?