In the second disaster movie of the week (the first unintentionally being Aloha) we get to see Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson playing a part familiar to him. Muscular blue collar hero.
The movie starts up with all the right clichés. We have Paul Gamatti playing Lawrence Hayes, a professor of geo-something, who everyone refuses to listen to when he warns Californians that their state is about to crack like an egg. His only help is Dwayne Johnson, playing Ray, a helicopter pilot for the city of LA. Of course, Ray’s home life is crap. His wife Emma (Carla Gugino) is ready to divorce him, his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) is freakishly well adjusted and there another man in the picture Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd) who wants to steal his whole family…despite the fact that he’s a nefarious coward who’s afraid to fly the plane he owns.
Yeah, they hit every disaster movie cliché squarely on the head. Not that I have a huge problem with that, as long as the disaster is good.
One thing I admire about the producers of this movie was that they had the balls to force the science. For years, it’s been said that a shift in the San Andreas Fault could not cause a Tsunami. Then, in a study from a private consulting firm, released shortly before the movie’s release, they’re saying it can.
Hey, when you can’t shift your script to fit reality, shift reality to fit your script. And they needed the tsunami. They needed the tsunami so they could add in a boat and lots of underwater scenes featuring the Rock thrashing around.
It’s got your standard disaster movie message, as in ‘disaster brings families closer together.’ That’s all well and good, but for the fact that Alexandra Daddario is not a convincing teenager (and she shouldn’t be, she’s almost 30) and looks absolutely nothing like the Rock.
There’s a lot of suspension of belief when it comes to this movie, but again, I’m not watching it for the science or teenagers that actually look like teenagers. I’m watching it for the action and there’s plenty of that.
The CGI is well done and heart pounding. Dwayne Johnson shines in his action parts and there’s lots of ‘will they or won’t they make it’ suspense. As far as action movies go, it delivers on that front. There’s lots of carnage and extras getting crushed by crumbling buildings, while a geo-scientist looks on with a distinct “I told you so” look on his face.
Dwayne Johnson hasn’t gotten better when it comes to acting. When it comes to scenes that are supposed to display the emotional turmoil inside of him, he looks like a man trying to push out a fart. Gugino does well as the requisite bitch ex that’s ruining his life. Gruffudd is a great one dimensional prick that needs to be put in his place. All the pieces are there for this disaster movie and it won’t make you think too much.
As long as you’re not looking for high art or believable science, this one is worth the watch.
WE GAVE IT: 4 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!