movie poster
Bad ass fire captain single-handedly takes on massive earthquake anywhere and everywhere


| I shouldn't have gone. It's not the kind of movie I like. But I succumbed to peer pressure.

Let's just say, I did not enjoy it much. I will say, unequivocally, it was loud. My ears are still traumatized by the non-stop decibel assault.

Spoiler alert: In case there is anyone who hasn't seen San Andreas the movie yet, and you intend to, consider this your trigger warning.

The plot can be summarized easiy. Earthquakes. BIG earthquakes. Sh*t happens. Los Angeles and San Francisco are leveled to the ground. The central valley splits open. Hoover Dam collapses. People scream. Stuff falls.

The opening sequence of the movie establishes Ray's (aka The Rock) bona fides as a real bad-ass who will stop at nothing to perform his rescues, in this case a young female driver whose car was catapulted off the road by a mighty shock and is hanging precariously from the vertical face of a cliff. Of course he saves her.

Iowan Gruffudd as Daniel Riddick
Ioan Gruffudd as Daniel Riddick, handsome but craven cad

I guess someone told the producers of the movie that they couldn't just have two hours of epic destruction, so they cobbled together a "story" to go with it. Ray has just been served with divorce papers by Emma, and she's moving in with Daniel Riddick, a big-time developer with a project in San Francisco. He generously volunteers to take Ray and Emma's daughter Blake to San Francisco in his private jet, since he's going there anyway.

Meanwhile, a huge quake in Arizona causes the Hoover Dam to collapse. Back in Los Angeles, buildings are crumbling everywhere, and Ray gets a frantic call from Emma, and he decides he will rescue her from the roof of the building where she is stranded. (Hey, she just served you with divorce papers, hello?). Then there is another frantic call from Blake who is trapped in Daniel's limousine in a collapsing parking garage in San Francisco, where she has been abandoned by Daniel who has staggered off into the rubble. This starts Ray and Emma's Excellent Adventure to save Blake and live happily ever after.

Ollie, Blake, and Ben
Ollie (Art Parkinson), Blake (Alexandra Daddavio) and Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) battle rising water in a sinking building

Blake, meanwhile, has hooked up with Ben and Ollie who she met while Ben was waiting for his interview, and they have their own excellent adventure. The entire city crashes around them and they are eventually trapped inside a skyscraper (I think it might be Daniel's project) as it pancakes, floor by floor. They keep going higher in the building but the water keeps rising. It's looking like doomsday.

Just when you think it is all over, Ray and Emma pass by the building in their stolen boat, and ever alert Ollie notices that Blake's "people" are in a boat making their way past the building. Blake, ever resourceful, points a laser pen at them, drawing the attention of Emma who then sees Blake waving desperately through the window. By the time Ray makes it into the building, Emma has only inches of air to breathe and eventually drowns. Never mind, Emma backs the boat up, guns it, and rams it into the building, shattering the windows and allowing Ray to escape with Blake in his arms.

Ray rescues Blake
Ray carries unconscious Blake from the sinking building

He administers CPR and she eventually coughs up the water she has swallowed. Everyone is happy beyond measure and Ray and Emma are ever so grateful to Ben and Ollie who have been there to help Blake. "It's really Blake who was here for us," humbly respond Ben and Ollie.

Emma and Ray are now reconciled, and as they survey the complete destruction around them, Emma asks Ray, "What do we do now?" Ray replies, "We rebuild." And they all live happily ever after.

I spent most of my time trying to think of an alternate title for this movie and eventually settled on Ray and Emma's Excellent Adventure. The "story" such as it is is summarized above. But mostly it's about buildings collapsing and everybody being scared out of their wits. Except Blake who is cool, calm, collected, and supernaturally knowledgeable for a teen-ager. And Ray, of course. He will save the day and purge his demons resulting from the earlier death of another daughter (also by drowning).

You have to be really, really able to suspend disbelief to follow this movie. Parts of it are so preposterous it is to laugh.

Two characters committed decent acting in the film. Surprisingly, Dwayne Johnson turned in a pretty good performance as strong, silent Ray, hero without a cape. I believe it took a great measure of skill to deliver many of his lines with a straight face. And then there is Ollie played by Art Parkinson. This Irish lad stole the scene whenever he appeared, hard to do when your co-star is an earthquake.

As for Carla Gugino playing Emma, she did get off one of the best, most-authentic lines of the show. She and Ray are flying north having just learned that Daniel abandoned Blake trapped in his limousine. Emma picks up the phone and gets Daniel's voicemail: "You abandoned my daughter. If you're not already dead, I will f*king kill you." Like I said, you have to suspend disbelief. The state of California is ready to slide into the ocean but the phones still work, even from an airplane?

In other 3D movies that I have seen, things are always leaping out of the screen to get you. Not so much in this one. There was only a time or two when I flinched to avoid a falling girder. It wasn't so much scary as it was tedious.

Last updated on Apr 13, 2018



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