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Movie Review: San Andreas
Written by Spling   
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 10:22

San Andreas is the sort of film you'd expect from Roland Emmerich. It's big, loaded with CGI, studded with stars and is completely over-the-top. It's like 2012 meets True Lies, pitting spectacular disaster movie visual effects and Hollywood action against the charm of its stars in a gut-wrenching yet heartwarming tale of survival and redemption in adverse conditions.

We're never quite sure how much scientific research (if any) has gone into the film, yet we're captivated by the grandiose visuals and extreme peril as a city falls prey to an invisible monster. While it may not be Godzilla, a Transformer or even Superman this time, we're subjected to another urban annihilation. The destruction of a city like San Francisco seems to be en vogue to ad nauseum in Hollywood right now with one blockbuster, literally trying to bust-a-block better than the last.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is our fireman rescue pilot hero, playing a role that would've gone to Arnold Schwarzenegger 20 years ago. He's the noble action man, determined to rescue his family (and a couple of civilians for good measure) from certain death. As far as earthquake movies go, San Andreas is one of the better if only ones... trying to convey devastation on the level of The Impossible with Roland Emmerich's panache for big, dumb entertainment.

The cityscape may be rearranged, but the film steers clear of representing human carnage. This isn't a gritty film, but one with a spirit of adventure from the director of Journey to the Centre of the Earth 2, Brad Peyton. While they've avoided giant insects, San Andreas doesn't avoid tapping into a ready supply of cheese and cleavage. There are some completely out-of-place comments from Dwayne Johnson and the visuals verge on Speed 2: Cruise Control ridiculous at times.

San Andreas Movie

"Guys... it's too late to recycle, Mother Nature's seriously pissed off."

Thankfully, the supporting cast in Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffud and Paul Giamatti do enough to level out the visual decimation with adept performances. Gugino is urgent, determined and feisty opposite Johnson as his ex-wife. Daddario plays his resourceful, beautiful daughter. Gruffud knows how to turn on the charm (and cowardice) as the new husband-to-be, while Giamatti's charm makes you want to believe every word as the unheeded seismologist.

San Andreas is an action blockbuster that gets by on its scale, charm and entertainment value. It's not trying to capture the reality and emotional fragility of The Impossible. It's aiming for Emmerich style disaster movie peril with a True Lies knack for stunts, warm fuzzies and star quality. If you like The Rock, you'll probably like San Andreas. It packs a visceral punch, entertains with quick pacing and relentless action sequences, while warming the cockles with some altruistic heroics and survival drama.

The bottom line: Enjoyable

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 June 2015 10:28