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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Friday, November 13, 2015

Movie Review - San Andreas

San Andreas (2015)
Starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Art Parkinson, Archie Panjabi, and Paul Giamatti
Direted by Brad Peyton

There's not much to San Andreas except for what we'd expect -- a giant earthquake wreaking mighty havoc over the southern portions of California.  Sure, there are attempts at a little more substantive story -- divorced father and mother (Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino) band together to find their stranded daughter (Alexandra Daddario), earthquake expert (Paul Giamatti) creates a device to predict quakes but no one will listen -- but at the heart of it all, this is simply a flick filled with special effects earthquake mayhem.

The pure special effects-driven nature works for the film's first hour quite well wasting very little time getting into the action and driving the story along from set piece to set piece.  However, as the second hour begins, the idiocy of what we're watching begins to rear its ugly head.  With Giamatti given absolutely nothing to do except hide under desks after spouting warnings similar to "This aftershock will be the biggest one yet!", the film tries to create some form of realistic story behind Johnson and Gugino attempting to find their teenage daughter in the shambles of San Francisco as the two parents are forced to face increasingly ridiculous scenarios.  How will they outrun a collapsing building?  How will their boat make it over the wave of this rising tsunami?  How will they land a helicopter with engine failure?  Seeing the chaos caused by the earthquake in the first hour seemed naturally plausible...seeing two apparent super humans try and rescue their equally superheroic daughter who McGuyvers her way out of quite a few tight spots herself makes the second hour laughable.

For the most part, the actors are game and actually do a nice job of keeping us interested in the action despite the building implausibility.  Johnson and Gugino are a nice match and Daddario more than carries her storyline with the help of British mates she meets along the way played charmingly by Hugo Johnstone-Burt and Art Parkinson.  In the end, San Andreas is about what can be expected, however, the film hurts itself by presenting a surprisingly solid first half only to dive deep into the realm of impossibility in its second half.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

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