“Sweet bro, get your laptop!”
I wonder if Dwayne Johnson ever gets tired of being so ridiculously awesome? It must be quite a burden. In San Andreas, The Rock is at it again, acting with superhuman strength, unbreakable resolve and resounding bravery. Once again he saves the day, and once again, its earth-shattering entertainment.
San Andreas features all the usual disaster film tropes; monumental destruction, children in danger and lots of extras getting squished. San Andreas even continues the well-honoured tradition of villanising the step-dad (Ioan Gruffudd in a somewhat unenviable role.) There’s the usual scientific explanations behind the carnage which attempts to validate the ludicrousy, and the characters happily benefit from coincidences galore in navigating their unbelievable situation. Yet, this lack of originality hardly matters. San Andreas never professes to be more than a destructively good time.
And San Andreas certainly is that. Its well acted, well paced and one cannot help but be impressed with the visual frenzy on screen. The choice of a relatively narrow geographical focus is a big help to the shaky story. Unlike in disaster films such as The Day After Tomorrow, San Andreas isn’t bogged down in telling a story of the whole world’s demise. The scale of the catastrophe is huge but vitally perceivable, with the face of the science (Giamatti) on the other end of the tragedy to the face of the defiance (Johnson).
These two excellent actors breath life into the familiar story-line. In terms of Dwayne Johnson, my feelings on him were made very clear in my Hercules review. He is an action screen-master and rarely fails to enthrall. His casting in San Andreas is like putting a round peg into a round hole; it just fits. Yet it is the heartfelt performance of Paul Giamatti that forces a modicum of emotion into the picture. As the severity of the situation dawns on the ‘quake expert, one can feel his heart-breaking. It is with every essence of his being that he wants to warn of the devastation ahead.
San Andreas may not be a revelatory disaster film but it hardly matters. It is wholly entertaining and one should ask no more from it. Giamatti and Johnson are excellent, and the other actors are pretty and passable. It’s effects won’t emanate far into the future, but you’ll enjoy it while its here. Its a smash-and-smash action thrill ride that’ll Rock your world.