A terrifying earthquake is about to consume San Francisco, while devoted divorced dad Ray Gaines is trying to save his wife and daughter and rebuild his family life.
SAN ANDREAS does one thing right, instead of following multiple character storylines, like many other disaster films, it focuses on one family. The drama of disaster movies, however, is much more effective when it deals with an underdog, someone unlikely to face the odds and totally unprepared. Dwayne Johnson, THE ROCK, looks like a half god himself, so it is unlikely you are going to be worried too much about his fate in the film. Surprisingly his acting is much like in the early films with Arnold Schwarzenegger - simple, but promising. That I cannot say about Carla Gugino. Normally a fine actor, here she struggles with the role of a grieving mom and definitely failing at any complex emotions. When she is required to take part in the action, however, she does it with ease.
I found baffling the cameo of Kylie Minogue, who barely has any lines. Her presence in the short scene does not make any sense and is absolutely redundant.
The one surprising performance comes from Alexandra Daddario, who before appeared only in various horror movies. She has a cinematic presence and for the first time it is obvious she can act well when the script demands that of her.
It is unnecessary to praise the spectacle itself - the effects are top notch. What I am more interested in are clever set pieces. While almost everything had been done before, I found a tsunami chase that involved a container freighter, awe-inspiring. The many “last minute rescue” scenes are predictable, but beautifully shot. Unfortunately the grand finale is a bit of a let down, comparing with early episodes, and I have left the movie theatre wanting one more big bang that would put everyone in danger. Alas that did not happen.
SAN ANDREAS does not try to send any important message. Being dumb but exciting family fun it focuses only on the characters that matter and puts them in the middle of a chaotic hell. The film is compact, focused and straight to the point and as a disaster movie it is hardly a disappointment.