San Andreas Review – IGN
SOLID AS THE ROCK
In terms of summer blockbusters, director Brad Peyton’s San Andreas is about as typical as it gets — but not necessarily in a bad way. In fact, the movie offers a good deal of fun, deftly straddling the line between action flick and disaster pic. While it’s not the most original of films, star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson anchors the proceedings with all the muscle and determination the lead role demands. That’s not to mention the sheer scope of San Andreas, which is both considerable and impressive.
In the film, Johnson plays a rescue chopper pilot named Ray, who, in the aftermath of the largest earthquake in recorded history, travels with his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario). Meanwhile, at Caltech in Pasadena, a seismologist played by Paul Giamatti has coincidentally made a breakthrough in predicting earthquakes mere hours before The Big One hits. Soon, he teams up with a TV journalist to warn people about the destruction to come: a magnitude 9-plus earthquake along the San Andreas Fault.
Honestly, Johnson is probably the best part of the movie, and he’s certainly the main reason to see it. (Who can resist the promise of “The Rock vs. an earthquake”?)
In addition to nailing all his action scenes, he does a really great job with the dramatic moments too. It helps that he has solid chemistry with Gugino, who is an old pro at genre stuff anyway. (The two were also in Faster together back in 2010.) Overall, their characters are the ones you’re rooting for the most, even amidst the other storylines.
Speaking of which, we also follow Daddario’s character, who teams up with a pair of brothers who happen to be in the same building she’s in when the first quake hits. Their story is primarily doing the opposite of what the authorities tell them, in the hopes that Ray will come flying in to the rescue. This is where a lot of the commotion happens, so there’s not much room for character growth, but that doesn’t stop a forced romantic subplot from creeping into things.