Director: Brad Peyton
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino & Alexandra Daddario
Synopsis: In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey with his ex-wife across the state in order to rescue his daughter
Rating: 12A Run time: 114 minutes Release date: 12 October (UK)
It’s hard to know how to approach a film like San Andreas. It does everything it says on the tin and has all the hallmarks of a big, dumb summer blockbuster, so is it right to feel disappointed by it when it delivers exactly that? San Andreas features everything you would expect from a film of its type; overblown CGI, wooden acting and tonnes of exposition yet it misses one important thing, fun.
Dwayne Johnson is quickly set up as the hero of the film. Within the first five minutes he has flown his rescue helicopter into a situation so over the top that it becomes clear that real world physics will play no part here whatsoever, and managed to save a young woman from the most absurd car crash ever to put to screen.
It becomes immediately clear the tone which San Andreas is aiming for and it soon becomes a monotonous deluge of falling buildings, broken glass and some of the worst CGI you will see in a long while. Director Brad Peyton is clearly of the mind that bigger is better and attempts to move the film from one set piece to another, while seemingly trying to outdo himself at how preposterous each one becomes.
It’s not that these sorts of films can’t be enjoyable; they can be fine ways to escape for a few hours, but when they are done badly they result in being dull special effects shows that do little to sustain anyone’s interest past the first fifteen minutes. Which is a shame, because you do get the feeling that everyone can do better than this.
Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Ioan Gruffudd and Paul Giamatti are all much better actors than they are permitted to showcase here. However they are all held back by two dimensional characters and a script so poor you wonder why they signed on in the first place. One might look at this and think it’s unfair to rip into a film that wants to do nothing more than be throwaway entertainment, but when it delivers such stupidity, it becomes very hard to like.
The constant barrage of CGI beats the audience down until they can take no more, and one hopes that towards the end of the film when a tsunami threatens to destroy San Francisco, that it will also wash away the audience and their memories of San Andreas into a blissful peace.
San Andreas tows the line with its Blu-Ray extras and has little to offer here other than the stock behind the scenes documentaries where the actors say how happy they were to work with everyone and what a good time they had making the film. While that may be true, the fact is there is little here other than the stock fillers that populate modern Blu-Ray releases.
A series of deleted scenes are available, with or without a commentary track from director Brad Peyton, which add nothing to the film in terms of plot development or characterisation. The gag and stunt reels are as formulaic as they come, while the feature “Dwayne Johnson to the Rescue” highlights the physical capabilities of one of Hollywood’s most likable action stars.
“San Andreas: The Real Fault Line” provides a small insight into the real threat that lies under the USA’s West Coast, but has the tone of an MTV production and comes across as earthquakes for dummies. Director Brad Peyton provides a “Director’s Commentary” if you feel like you can sit through San Andreas for a second viewing.
Only “Scoring the Quake” provides any meaningful insight into the production of the film and how is scored, but it’s hardly a deal breaker that will persuade you to part with your hard earned money.
In summary: A waste of time and a waste of money. San Andreas is one of the least entertaining films you will see this year.