Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario
Director: Brad Peyton
Running Time: 114 mins
San Andreas is an American film about a helicopter pilot who unites with his ex-wife in a desperate bid to rescue their daughter in San Francisco, at the centre of the most powerful earthquake ever recorded.
This may have been released in 2015, but the blood of the 90s disaster movie runs strong through San Andreas. It’s as cheesy and predictable a blockbuster you’ll see, but the fact that it hits the beats of the genre so consistently makes it effortlessly enjoyable. Sure, it may not be a great work, and it’s got a few big story problems, but as an entertaining blockbuster, this sure does the job well.
I’ll start quickly with the performances. As normal with these CGI-oriented disaster movies, good acting isn’t as necessary to provide a fun watch, and that’s the case here. Although Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is as charismatic and cool as always, he, along with all of his co-stars, don’t quite manage to deliver in some of the more emotional scenes. Of course, the writing isn’t top quality either, and whilst the performances are all just as fun as they need to be, they’re not amazing.
But you shouldn’t expect that going into this sort of film, because it’s inevitable that you’re going to get a seriously generic blockbuster with very little in the way of unpredictability or tension.
And although there was never a moment when I was really engrossed or excited by this story, the genericness of it all just made it an absolute laugh to watch. Playing perfectly on all of the tropes of the genre, you can just sit back and enjoy the ride with San Andreas.
Would it have been nice to get a more coherent, focussed and intelligent film? Of course, however San Andreas is a perfect substitute in place of anything that tries to go too dramatic and different, and just comes out as boring. There’s never a dull moment in this film, because it is a fast-paced action thriller full of disaster movie clichés that will simply give you a fun couple of hours.
The biggest issue that I do have with this film is the CGI. Now, visual effects have advanced massively since the 1990s, and if this was made back then, it would have been stunning. However, nowadays, it doesn’t look all that great. Put simply, there’s too much of it. In the city destruction scenes, and because it’s not so realistic, it can be distracting to see in the back of shot.
Overall, San Andreas is the perfect display of how fun a dumb, clichéd disaster movie can be. It doesn’t try anything too outlandish, and whilst that’s a bit of a shame, it fortunately keeps everything simple and formulaic enough to make it an easy-going and hugely entertaining movie, and that’s why it gets a 7.3 from me.