Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) is an all round American hero – former Army Ranger turned rescue chopper pilot for the fire department – who is on a mission to save his daughter from the biggest earthquake California, nay the World, has ever seen!
Rated PG-13 for mayhem, bikini and a lot of shaky building syndrome
Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti) is a seismologist with Caltech university who, along with his partner Kim (Will Yun Lee), is developing an early warning system for earthquakes. The lads make a breakthrough with their system, but before they can break out the champagne the system detects a massive series of earthquakes along the San Andreas fault between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Like, not only the same day but literally a minute after they get it working!
The first earthquake hits and causes major damage to Nevada, destroying the Hoover Dam with seemingly little consequences. Meanwhile Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson), a chopper pilot for the Fire Department ,is forced to abandon his plans to drive his hot daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), to San Francisco so he can provide air rescue to the affected area. Instead, Blake must catch a ride on her mother’s boyfriend’s private jet, which is tragic for her.
When they arrive in San Francisco, another larger earthquake strikes and Blake gets trapped in a car, while her douche bag, sorta step-dad, makes a run for it leaving her behind. Back in LA, Ray has to save his ex wife Emma (Carla Gugino) from a collapsing building after another earthquake strikes LA – he does this by putting his helicopter on auto-pilot by the way… or auto hover I should say! Blake manages to reach her Dad by cellphone to tell her she’s trapped and Ray abandons all his duties so he and Emma can travel to San Francisco to save their daughter.
In the meantime, a young engineer helps Blake escape and they navigate the crumbling city together all the while getting all gooey eyed even though they look like they might be related. Seriously, he looks exactly like her only with shorter hair! Will they make it to San Francisco before the whole city crumbles away? Will the Rock stop the earthquake with his mighty biceps and flexible eyebrow? Will an American flag proudly flap about near the end to remind us that nature is no match for the American spirit? I hope so
If you’re after a mindless, feel-good disaster flick then this might be for you
- CGI is pathetically bad at times – usually when it was completely unnecessary
- Characters are very one dimensional
- Seems to take inspiration from Michael Bay movies – which is bad
This movie sets a poor tone right at the start when a young lady’s car leaves the road and careers into a ravine. That’s not the bad part, the problem here is they decided to CGI the whole thing and it… looks… shit. This is $110 million dollar movie and they can’t chuck a car into a ravine old school?? At least then it would have been realistic and not some CG shit defying the laws of physics! Anyway, that’s just a pet peeve of mine. It does recover slightly but there are a couple of stupid bits that are peppered through out that, if you’re brain is still switched on, will niggle – turning the helicopter to “Autohover” for instance. Overall, it’s a pretty standard disaster movie in the same bracket as “The Day After Tomorrow” and “2012” and if you can switch the brain off completely you might just enjoy it a little. 5/10