BEFORE I watched San Andreas, I expected to see disaster striking Earth, a lot of people running and screaming, and a divorced couple, or a couple about to divorce, getting back together by the end of the film. I was right on all three counts.
In fact, the film reminds me of 2012 (2009), starring John Cusack and Amanda Peet. Cusack plays a divorced limo driver in California whose ex-wife and two kids live with a wealthy plastic surgeon.
By the end of the film, the family is back together and the new husband is dead. Gargantuan holes open up and swallow buildings and people. You'd never expect it, but there's phone service in India just before a giant wave gobbles up the people.
In director Brad Peyton's San Andreas, helicopter rescue pilot Ray (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) receives divorce papers the day before shit hits the fan in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Soon-to-be ex-wife Emma (Carga Gugino) tells him that she will move in with her wealthy developer boyfriend Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd of Fantastic Four fame, and who also appeared in disaster film Titanic).
Ray's spunky and beautiful daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario of Percy Jackson fame) is just about to enter university. When we first see her, she's lounging by the pool in a black bikini. By the way, which sexy babe calls her dad when she's in a black bikini?
It's safe to say that Ray pines for Emma, but what can we do when there's a rich boyfriend in the way?
Simple. Concoct an earthquake that measures 9.5 on the Richter Scale, throw in scenes of destruction similar to 2012, have Ray go AWOL at work, and voila, the family unit is back together again.
I say AWOL because Ray absconds from his job with the helicopter. He was taking the copter for maintenance but a call from his wife, who's trapped in a high-rise building when the quake hits, compels him to rush to her rescue. He doesn't even bother to call his office to inform it of his change of plans.
Romantics may swoon at this gesture, but reasonable and critical viewers will judge that he's put his heart before his mind.
His action sets in motion a chain of events that will see tough-guy Ray opening up about what led to the family disintegrating. I could not believe it when Ray and Emma discuss their marital problems when there's disaster of an unparalleled scale around them. Thousands have died, but that's secondary to their heart-to-heart talk.
However, there's light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the sexy Blake. She's in San Francisco when the quake strikes, so Pa and Ma must make their way up north to rescue her.
Blake's with British guy Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and his brother, and the trio walk around the city, which reminds me of the week I spent there, while waiting for help to come.
Blake shows her rescue skills, imparted to her by Ray, and this impresses Ben, who says that she's "unbelievable". It's usually a male who does the rescuing, so it's good to see a strong buxom woman do the rescuing.
2 out of 5 stars