[ Film Review] San Andreas

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When the San Andreas fault line that runs through most of California starts shifting there are bound to be some disastrous results and you’d better take cover.

Directed by Brad Peyton and starring Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino , Alexandra Daddario and Paul Giamatti, San Andreas is another disaster movie that will have viewers on an edge of the seat thrill ride.

Scientists have been researching how to predict seismic activity for some time and it seems like a team of Californian scientists have done just that. Out in Nevada scientist are testing predictive equipment during minor shocks to put theory into practice. When Dr. Kim Chung ( Will Yun Lee)  is killed during a large quake the team of researchers know they are onto a scientific break through.

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What it reveals is that the San Andreas fault that runs through most of California is experiencing some major swarms of  seismic activity and is going to become a huge problem all along the coast, especially in San Fransisco.Seismologist Lawrence Hayes           (Paul Giamatti) must warn everyone and save lives as he predicts the destruction of the state of California.

Meanwhile Chief Ray Gaines ( Dwayne Johnson) is an expert rescue helicopter pilot. He has all the tools to save the world and save his loved ones including estranged wife Emma   ( Carla Gugino) when she becomes trapped in a falling down building.  As he flies his helicopter over the destruction we see a bird’s-eye view as iconic landmarks such as the Hollywood sign are destroyed.

In the meantime his daughter Blake ( Alexandra Daddario)  is in San Fransisco at the epicenter and is in need of rescue. She is trapped alone in a car park having been abandoned by her mothers cowardly boyfriend Daniel Reddick ( Ioan Gruffudd). Thankfully two brothers  Ollie ( Art Parkinson)  Ben ( Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and   that she met earlier in the day hear of her plight and come to rescue her. They stick together for the rest of the movie as Ray and Emma make their way to San Fransisco to rescue them. They may also just manage to save their broken marriage in the process as well.

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Whilst Johnson and Giamatti never share a scene in the movie both become unlikely heroes in this end of the world disaster film. The scientist and the rescue helicopter pilot both take on roles to help save lives. If there is trouble, Johnson with his sheer strength will fix it.

The film is an edge of the seat action packed thrill ride that is mostly seen from a bird’s eye view as Ray searches by air for his daughter.  The visual effects are spectacular and there are a few cheesy one liners for laughs. Kylie Minouge appears for a brief moment as the  possible sister-in-law for Emma before falling to her death. It’s a blink and you’ll miss her role for Kylie.

The movie has enthralling special effects and the ability to leave you on the edge of your seat as the city falls down but it is rather formulaic and at times predictable. The characters are not fleshed out a whole lot and in times of emotion Johnson handles it but it is clear he makes a better action star than dramatic one.  It’s a simple plot line that just allows the viewer to be entertained without having to think too much. Each actor handles their roles rather well and Johnson is the epitome of an action star. Watching the destruction of the windy city the effects are somewhat realistic, including seeing Golden Gate Bridge torn to ribbons. At the end of the day it wraps up rather nicely with a patriotic nod at Americans being able to rebuild after disaster. A bumpy yet enjoyable ride for viewers of all ages.

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