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San Andreas

San Andreas

Released 28 May 2015
Director Brad Peyton

Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Art Parkinson, Paul Giamatti
Writer(s) Carlton Cuse
Producer(s) Beau Flynn
Origin United States, Australia
Running Time 114 minutes
Genre Action, drama, thriller
Rating 12A

San Andreas faults.

In San Andreas, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays a Los Angeles search and rescue pilot who has just been served with divorce papers. I know what you’re thinking - why would anyone want to divorce The Rock? Apart from being a really nice chap and all round good guy, you could shelter between his enormous biceps should a natural disaster strike. Well the answer comes pretty quickly - as much as I love Dwayne and wholeheartedly concur with his claim of being “franchise viagra,” his character in San Andreas is really, really boring. Even when he’s guiding a small boat up a tsunami.

San Andreas, in terms of plot and action, is exactly what you would expect from a 21st century disaster movie. There are CGI buildings crashing into other CGI buildings, a respected actor (Paul Giamatti) thrown in to add some depth, an attractive young woman in a tank top (Alexandra Daddario) and a cute, wise-cracking kid (Art Parkinson). Add to this the man mountain trying to save his family amid the worst earthquake in human history and you have yourself the perfect recipe for a spectacular popcorn movie. The thing is, director Brad Peyton doesn’t quite have the skills to pull it off.

Of course the film is riddled with plot holes and inconsistencies (not to mention a bizarrely brief cameo from Kylie Minogue) but none of these would have mattered, or even registered, had I been blown away by the action. This was unfortunately not the case - the countless shots of skyscrapers falling over quickly become repetitive. The pacing doesn’t help, action comes in fits and starts, separated by dull interludes in which Johnson and his estranged wife Carla Guggino do their own version of Trains, Planes and Automobiles as they travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco to rescue their daughter.

The funny thing is, I’m not really sure how, or indeed if, they could have made this better. The CGI is certainly very convincing and the threat very real. Somehow though, I was underwhelmed by the sight of the Western seaboard tearing itself apart. Perhaps after countless climaxes of cities being decimated at the hands of Marvel heroes, mother nature needs to step up her cinematic game?

- Linda O’Brien