San Andreas (2015)

San Andreas (2015)
  • Time: 107 min
  • Genre: Action | Drama | Thriller
  • Director: Brad Peyton
  • Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Carla Gugino, Paul Giamatti


After the infamous San Andreas Fault finally gives, triggering a magnitude 9 earthquake in California, a search and rescue helicopter pilot (Dwayne Johnson) and his estranged wife make their way together from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter. But their treacherous journey north is only the beginning. And when they think the worst may be over…it’s just getting started.


  • Quickie Review:

    A series of small tremors on the San Andreas Fault lead to the biggest earthquake disaster in recorded history. Rescue-chopper pilot Ray (Dwayne Johnson) must venture into the middle of the aftermath to rescue his daughter (Alexandra Daddario) and ex-wife (Carla Gugino). San Andreas is visually a great cinematic disaster film. With that comes a lot of computer generated visual effects that are bit rough around the edges but deliver in setting the grand scale of the destruction. Yet the film falls into the same clichés of every disaster film ever that it becomes tiring. Burdened with overacting and forced drama San Andreas is mediocre at best.

    Full Review:

    The Rock fighting an earthquake? Yea sure, it’s a ridiculous premise but we a have a charming actor as our hero and a plausible disaster, what could go wrong? Oh… it’s a carbon copy of all other movies of the same genre.

    Of course a movie like this can’t be done without CGI. There are few moments where you can clearly tell the actors are in front of a green screen. However, when the city wide destruction is shown the scale of it all is very well displayed. More than once my eyes widened at some surprising incident as a consequence of the earthquake. I’m not a geologist so I don’t know the specifics of it all but the overall sequence of events and damage felt realistic. I enjoy Dwayne Johnson in films because he brings a lot of his charisma to whatever character he plays. He was necessary for this movie. Without his one-liners that lightened the mood, the movie would be drowning in overacting drama.

    Question to Hollywood: why do we always need a divorced couple and d-bag stepfather in a disaster movie? Seriously, that can’t possibly be the only way you can get the audience to relate to the main characters. Ioan Gruffund, who plays the stepfather is just in the movie to be a d-bag, who does one d-bag thing, to give Carla Gugino a d-bag boyfriend to instantly hate and fall back in love with Dwayne Johnson. This is not a spoiler, you know that’s where this movie is heading in the first 10mins. To top it off the movie tries to be dramatic but it just ends up feeling like overacting. I blame the script and directing because the cast of this movie do have decent acting career that’s better than what they brought here.

    All in all, purely considering the genre San Andreas delivers on the big devastation sequences. Great acting is a not a requirement for a movie like this but it definitely would have brought the movie to a more entertaining level. With some managed expectations you might leave the cinema liking the movie but not loving it.

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  • Hard to fall asleep in this one. There is maybe ten or fifteen minutes in the whole movie where some sort of action isn’t happening. Earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, buildings collapsing, and of course, more earthquakes. That is what we were promised and they delivered. Sure, the movie seems really unrealistic at times, but at least they advertised exactly what is actually in the movie. Although the acting could have been done by anyone really, the CGI and earth-shattering action is enough to at least have fun while watching San Andreas.

    What I mean by unrealistic is mostly things that you would expect. It would be impossible to actually just pick up some random boat and drive it all the way over a tsunami while dodging a humongous cargo ship that for whatever reason is coming right at you. Or after a tsunami does devastate a city and leaves the whole city flooded, it would be extremely difficult to drive a boat straight through the city because of the untold wreckage that would lie in front of you. There are a lot of other gaps in logic with this flick, but I knew what I was walking into and it came as no surprise to me watching those gaps.

    I will say this, Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. “The Rock” has turned into a box office draw in the past couple of years. Whether it is his charm, his silverback gorilla sized body, or whatever, people like to see him on the big screen. He did a decent job in this movie. To be honest, the role could have been played by anyone as long as they were muscular enough which may be the reason why Dwayne Johnson was cast. But, the role did not require any acting, or any of the roles in the movie for that matter, but still the whole cast did a good job at the roles they were given and no one was terrible.

    Now we come to the exciting parts, the action. Mainly talking about the earthquakes and tsunamis sequences.

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  • New York takes a well-deserved break from serving as filmmakers’ favoured backdrop for mass destruction. This time, the disaster strikes the West Coast in San Andreas, a B-movie elevated by a game cast and grade-A special effects. This is a movie that delivers exactly what it promises: a disaster flick of epic proportions.

    Leading the small group of people the audience is required to care for is Ray, a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot who has 600 documented rescues under his belt. Ray is played by Dwayne Johnson, which already bodes well for the film since Johnson has heaps of charisma and is one of the few hulking action stars that can convincingly save the day, toss off quips with ease, and also finesse his way around a dramatic scene. Ray is first seen rescuing a trapped teen from her car which has just gone over the mountain, a well-executed sequence that also establishes the screenwriters’ penchant for introducing information and characters that come to be of little consequence. Hotshot Joby (Colton Haynes), for example, not only would make a good sidekick but a possible romantic interest for Ray’s college-bound daughter Blake (the ever-bouncy Alexandra Daddario), but Joby barely makes it out alive in that opening rescue before never being seen or heard from again.

    Reporter Serena (Archie Panjabi, who remains almost immaculate as everyone around her gets grimier by the minute) goes from filming Ray’s heroics to interviewing Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti), a seismology professor at CalTech who has developed a method of predicting earthquakes. His colleague Dr. Kim Park (Will Yun Lee) vouches for the method’s efficacy by sacrificing his life, though he manages to hold off dying long enough to throw a little girl to safety before being swept away with the rest of the Hoover Dam.

    As Nevada and California are rocked by a massive quake, Ray must forget about all those nameless faces screaming in terror and running for their lives so that he can track down his ex-wife Emma (Carla Gugino) and Blake as they scream in terror and run for their lives. While Blake is having the most extreme meet-cute with twentysomething Brit Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt), who has his wisecracking younger brother Ollie (Art Parkinson) in tow, Emma is lunching in a luxury rooftop lounge and reluctantly remembering the drowning death of her other daughter from years ago. There’s a nifty tracking shot as Emma makes her way past a frantic mob to reach the rooftop for safety. During this shot, people run through doors only to discover there’s nothing but air below, sides of building are suddenly exposed, and floors give way without hesitation.

    It’s difficult not to get caught up in the gleeful ruination of buildings as they crumble and topple. Landmarks like the Hollywood sign fall over like dominoes and the Golden Gate Bridge is smashed apart by a cruise ship. Director Brad Peyton and his crew go bonkers as they toss in disaster upon disaster. That first quake not enough for you? How about a second, larger quake to further flatten the cityscape? That second quake still not sating your appetite? How about a tsunami so that Ray can play chicken with a huge wall of water? San Andreas is accommodating like that. It’s not the best entry in the disaster film genre, but it’s solid and eager to please. Those qualities, along with Johnson, are enough to sell it over the line.

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  • Man I love disaster flicks. It all started when The Towering Inferno invaded my TV screen back in the early 80’s. Since then, I’ve been hooked, waiting for the next helping of inflated storylines, large casts, and devastating, mitigated destruction. “When the Big One Finally Hits L.A.”, “THE ONLY WAY OUT IS IN”, “HELL, UPSIDE DOWN”, “THE COAST IS TOAST”, hey I’m game. Enter San Andreas, 2015’s obliterating of California’s vast coastline. Quakes occur on a dime in this flick, cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are reduced to mere debris, and oh yeah, there’s also a big ol’ tsunami thrown in to polish everything off. So let’s just skip all the pleasantries and say that what we have here, is clear-cut disaster porn? Or better yet, clear-cut, disaster porn addiction. Granted, this isn’t your typical special effects eye candy, it’s the whole candy store. And yes, San Andreas is a popcorn flick. There’s a pound of butter, a pound of seasoned salt, and a tub the size of Texas to put it all in. Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? Yeah I think I can and sadly, it amounts to just middling results.

    Anyway, if you’ve seen Earthquake (1974), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), or Independence Day (1996), well get ready to experience more of the same here. The only difference is that “Andreas” takes residue from these films and ups the ante to almost unrealistic proportions. I mean, director Brad Peyton doesn’t want to draw you into his presented caricatures or situations. He just needs twenty, nutrition-free minutes of buildup time to pummel your fragile psyche into moviegoing submission. We have the Golden Gate bridge reduced to dusty rubble, we have the Hoover dam blown to smithereens, and we get to see AT&T Park look like it needs about five makeovers. These effects seem like they’re literally just for show and not conducive to pushing the story along. Hmm, did Michael Bay wander on set (out of boredom) and give out some pro bono consultation? Maybe.

    Oh I almost forgot, San Andreas could qualify as the feel-good disaster film of the year. That’s if you revel in seeing all the main characters live and the one jerk character die (every extra or bit part is expendable and in the blink of an eye, they too bite the proverbial dust). Was I blown away by its visual splendor and moderated moments of grated tension? Yeah somewhat. Did I roll my eyes at its impracticality, shake my head in disbelief over how the main players escape death, identity all the green screen confetti, and then say to myself, “it’s only a movie”? Yup.

    With a screenplay by Carlton Cuse (he wrote 39 episodes of the TV series, Lost), a running time of 114 minutes (90% of said running time is annihilation while the other 10% is daft, character development), and a bloodless way of taking out its hapless (or should I say, cardboard) victims, San Andreas chronicles helicopter-rescue pilot, Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson). He’s about to be divorced from his wife (Emma played by Carla Gugino) and said wife is about to move in with her new jagoff boyfriend (real estate developer Daniel Riddick who is played by Ioan Gruffudd). Ray is also in the process of planning a trip to San Francisco. He wants to see his college-bound daughter off (Blake played by Alexandra Daddario). When Daniel ends up taking Blake to school instead, Raymond gets back to the job of rescuing people and flexing his ripped biceps. It’s only when a serious of badass earthquakes caused by the San Andreas fault, gives him the chance to be united with his estranged wife and cutesy daughter once again. Raybird saves a couple of other denizens in danger (or peril) as the proceedings barrel along. But his main focus here is to just take care of his own doting family. Every other resident in Cali is an afterthought waiting for the slaughter.

    Johnson’s character for what it’s worth, is pretty much like Dennis Quaid’s Jack Hall from The Day After Tomorrow (mentioned earlier). The only difference is that Johnson looks so big he could swallow little Dennis whole. I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again: A movie screen is too small of a catacomb to fit The Rock in. The tickets to the gun show can only be bought in bulk.

    Now the quality of acting via disaster vehicles has never been characterized as phenomenal. I mean there have been a couple of Academy Award nominations here and there but for the most part, it’s just more about the plethora of big name stars faceted to wet your whistle. In San Andreas however, you don’t really get that. The Steve McQueens and Paul Newmans are long gone. There’s no Charlton Heston, no Ava Gardner, no Gene Hackman, and no Ernest Borgnine. Robert Wagner isn’t there to sort of guide you through the fire and you can’t hitch a motorcycle ride with Mr. Richard Roundtree. No all we have is a bunch of unknown actors, Paul Giamatti, and you know who. Speaking of Paul Giamatti, well he gives the film’s best performance. He plays seismologist Lawrence Hayes and his job is to shift from moment to moment all the while delivering TV news of the doom and gloom variety. His role in the film however, is somewhat thankless. He’s reduced to kind of a side note and comes off more like a curator or narrator. When San Andreas concludes, you don’t find out what happens to him or his other scientific cohorts. Que sera sera.

    That leaves all the heavy lifting (no pun intended) to Dwayne Johnson. On screen his Ray is likable. He’s the big, giant teddy bear you root for. Johnson in a way, infuses him with some palatable screen presence. However, his dialogue delivery like in many of his other movies, still seems as wooden as ever here. I mean, the only time I’ve notice Johnson possess any acting chomps is when he did the whole concerned father thing in 2013’s Snitch. When certain scenes cause for him to show emotion in “Andreas”, well he’s the movie equivalent of Bill Belichick at a New England Patriots press conference. I can just see Brad Peyton (on set) yelling, “show some tears Rocko! Break something Rocko! Lift an eyebrow Rocko! Darn it!”

    In conclusion, San Andreas lacks a certain epicness or a heighten sentiment that should accompany something so Homeric in scale. It’s almost on par with being bloated humdrum and feels recycled from other, better disaster fare. However, if you have two hours to kill and enjoy seeing buildings blown to bits with CGI up the yin yang, well it’s harmless. So to end this review I’ll give “Andreas” an alternative, working title. How about Armageddon On The Day After Tomorrow Causing An Earthquake With A Deep Impact. Man that was a mouthful.

    Rating: 2 out of 4 stars

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  • Tony Barton

    San Andreas is disaster movie, on an epic scale, directed by Brad Peyton and stars Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario and Paul Giamatti. Helicopter rescue pilot, Ray Gaines, (Johnson), is having a bad day, trying to come to terms with the pending divorce, from his estranged wife, Emma, (Gugino).

    Ray has to put off a trip to San Francisco with his daughter, Blake, (Daddario), in order to rescue a young women trapped in her car following an earth tremor. Little does he know however, that the day is going to turn into the worst of his life, as literately dozens of tremors are detected up and down, the vast quake zone known as the San Andreas Fault.

    Emma’s new boyfriend, Daniel,(Ioan Gruffud), agrees to take Blake with him to a meeting and then drop her off so she can go on her trip with Ray, later that day. Events take over however, as a huge earthquake measuring a massive 9.1 on the Richter Scale, tears open the San Andreas Fault and with it many of the cities, along it’s path. Ray manages to save Emma, from the roof of an high rise building, but his daughter Emma, isn’t so lucky and finds herself trapped in a car with Daniel. Daniel decides to go and look for help and leaves Blake in the car. Daniel decides to put his own welfare above all else and abandons Blake to fend for herself. Blake’s found by Ben, (Hugo Johnstone Burt), who’s been interviewed for a job at Daniels offices and with the help of his younger brother Ollie, manage to free Blake. Blake manages to find a working phone and rings Ray, who immediately aims his helicopter at San Francisco. Things take a turn for the worse however, as the helicopter develops a fault, forcing Ray to make an emergency landing.

    Ray manages to steal a vehicle and he and Emma resume their race to San Francisco by road. They come across an elderly couple broke down by the road. The couple agree to give them the keys to a plane they own, if in return, Ray gives them the keys to the vehicle. Blake, Ben and Ollie, must find an alternative rescue point as their planned pick up point, Colt Tower, is engulfed by flames. On the ground, an early warning centre predicts that the earthquake was only a prelude of things to come and advises the population to leave the city, as the largest quake in living memory is just hours away.

  • The thing about disaster movies is that you pretty much know what to expect. Disaster movies almost always give us some good old-fashioned pandemonium but a poor script and one-dimensional characters are two things we have to bear as well. My expectations were pretty low going into San Andreas, yet, it somehow managed to disappoint me even more. San Andreas sees The Rock playing Ray Gaines, a LAFD search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, who in the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, must make a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his daughter.

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  • “The Earth will literally crack and you will feel it on the East Coast.”

    What expectations do you have when you’re going to see a disaster movie such as “San Andreas” ? Obviously you’re looking forward to see how a metropolis like San Francisco is reduced to an immense mess, strewn with rubble and twisted steel. Immense skyscrapers collapsing like a house of cards and tumbling down one after the other like domino’s with lots of noise and accompanied by bombastic, swelling and ominous music. A crowd fleeing in panic. People being crushed and pulverized, thrown off buildings and bridges and the number of victims rising steadily. And all this developed in a perfect, crisp and digital way. Preferably in 3D so that you get the feeling as if everything is crashing down right in front of you. That’s what you can expect in this Hollywood disaster movie and it all looks very impressive. But the accompanying story in which the personal and emotional part is mingled, really is sometimes far-fetched and trite presented. In brief you can say that the disaster part has been shown numerous times in other (older and therefore outdated) movies. And the tragic, emotional part is a subject that’s dealt with in other films, but only much better.

    The whole story takes place at the San Andreas Fault (and that explains the logical film title). Ray (Dwayne Johnson), helicopter pilot aka rescuer, is from the outset at the forefront. A nail-biting rescue operation at the beginning of the film immediately shows what this impressive,muscled Hulk is capable of. He rescued innumerable people who were in such a precarious situation. His marriage, however, he couldn’t save. A break-up between him and his wife is inevitable. A planned trip with his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) is canceled because the Hoover Dam got destroyed by a heavy earthquake (excellent shown on the screen by the way). But she can fly with Daniel Riddick’s (Ioan Gruffudd) private jet. He’s the wealthy new boyfriend of her mother Emma (Carla Gugino). Of course, this trip is going to San Francisco. Coincidentally this is “the place you shouldn’t be” at that moment because there will be a concentration of earthquakes, with disastrous consequences.

    How an American landscape is recreated by a succession of strong earthquakes, is the better part of this film. These are sometimes poignant, apocalyptic images that look really slick. It’s breathtaking to see San Francisco’s surface heaving as the ocean. But unfortunately this is not sufficient enough to turn “San Andreas” into a successful film. And since this is the only good part, you get the feeling as if you’re just voyeuristic person who gets his kicks from watching others misery. The side story about unresolved grief, incomprehension and divorce is so predictable (so far it’s the most predictable movie I’ve ever seen) and dull. It was so predictable that my wife and I spontaneously started a “predict-the-next-event-or-quote ‘game. And I have to be honest. My wife won as easy as pie.

    The characters are no more than stereotypical figures. Dwayne Johnson wasn’t actually so bad. This role fitted him as a glove. On the other hand Johnson looks as if he could cause an earthquake on his own. But that this rough diamond turns into a sensitive wimp near the finish, was a bit to much (but surely predictable. One point for my wife). Gugino plays the indignant and disillusioned almost-ex-wife who immediately digs up a multi millionaire (of course. My point), although her attitude shows something different. As if she’s not entirely sure about it. For the rest she just radiates helplessness and dismay. Daddario is a stunning actress with piercing Tsunami-blue eyes and a cup size that you can’t look past (probably inherited from her film-mother who’s also blessed with a nice set of boobs). But that’s probably the most important thing why this MacGyver-like teenager was selected. She’s being helped (but usually she’s the one who’s helping) by two boys from England, Ben and Ollie. I saw it coming from miles away that Ben and Blake would develop feelings for each other at the end (And yes, one point for me again). For me, Ollie (Art Parkinson) was the most successful and enjoyable interpretation. A smart, perky, unabashedly, funny little boy. The rest of the cast was only necessary for the story. The funniest (and shortest) interpretation was made by Kylie Minogue. A tactless bitch who gets what she deserves eventually.

    “San Andreas” is a shallow-brained spectacle with some facts that are scientifically incorrect or illogical. I didn’t know that you could be floating underwater with your mouth wide open without drowning and I am confident that this film broke the record of “giving-CPR-after-awfully-long-time-with-no-brain damage-because-of-oxygen deficiency” easily. The disaster part looked damn good and it seemed as if you could feel the shocks yourself by looking at the shaking images. The sentimental story only made shake with laughter sometimes. When are they going to replace those idiotic, clichéd one-liners and fragments with original ideas? When Johnson quoted “Now, we rebuild” and the American flag was raised again, I sighed again and secretly I was hoping the Richter scale registered 15.

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  • (Rating: ☆☆ out of 4)

    This film is not recommended.

    In brief: The CGI is first rate but the film is a true disaster.

    GRADE: C

    San Andreas is the type of movie that is a direct homage to those overwrought Irwin Allen disaster epics of the 70’s, only not as much fun. Still you will laugh at the ridiculous plot and marvel at the actors’ restraint and composure in delivering the unintentionally bad dialogue with the straightest of faces.

    Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays Ray, a rescue pilot whose personal life has fallen on rocky times. Separated from his wife, Emma (Carla Gugino),but still a devoted father to his savvy daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario), his life is in shambles. But a soon-to-be major earthquake is destined to send his family grappling for safety and bring this family closer together, with a new British boyfriend (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) for his daughter in the mix.

    San Andreas is the type of film where everyone talks in somber voices and speaks, no…shouts, in exclamation points saying, “You need to get out, and I mean, now!” or “This is not over yet!” or “We’re coming to get you!” or “Everyone, get undercover!”

    Reliable actors like Archie Panjabi, Ioan Gruffudd, and Paul Giamatti as the chief purveyor of doom (“California’s  technotic  plates are shifting and there will be bigger aftershocks. Pray for the people of San Francisco!”) are given little to do except look scared or get wet or dirty from the falling debris and giant tsunamis. Dwayne The Rock plays his leading role like a well-chiseled hunk of granite. He is more like a superhero without the colorful outfit, never resembling a real human being, but then none of the characters in Carlton Cuse’s awful screenplay are written convincingly. Brad Peyton directs the film with the sole purpose of keeping the action moving and he does.

    Let’s face it. The characters and their lives are merely an excuse for the actual raison d’etre of the film: the mass hysteria and destruction of many American landmarks with the latest in technical CGI wizardry filmmakers have to offer (Hoover Dam, the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate). Fortunately the CGI upstages everything, as it should, and is really the film’s only redeeming quality. The plot gets more preposterous as it forces the characters into more perilous circumstances, but the visual effects become more impressive. There is little time for the real family drama to unfold with all the collapsing skyscrapers, screaming mobs, and fiery explosions, but there will, or course, be love among the ruins in this predictable mess of a movie.

    As Ms. G repeated says, “OMG!” That says it all!!!!!

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