There were some cracks in the plot, and a few crushing disappointments, but besides all that for an earthquake movie…
Flying back from Melbourne last week I got to watch San Andreas, the latest earthquake film starring Dwayne Johnson (The Rock). Admittedly, a tiny screen in the back of an aircraft seat is hardly the ideal movie experience and the small children sitting opposite me across the aisle were a strong argument for contraception, but I still pretty much got the gist of the film.
Our hero The Rock is a highly-decorated Rescue Helicopter pilot who, through reasonable circumstances, happens to be flying a chopper by himself to a maintenance department (there’s no other crew on board to ruin the story or steal the limelight, right?) when the largest earthquake like, for ever and ever, hits the west coast of the USA. On the ground below shit starts falling down a lot. Plenty of screaming people, panicked texting, cancelling of dental appointments, crying babies inexplicably left on the footpath… you know the deal.
So, being an expert in saving people and coincidentally flying a million-dollar piece of high-tech rescue helicopter, does The Rock start doing his thing and helping folks? Nope, instead he decides to go and save his ex-wife who, by the way, left The Rock to go and shag a billionaire property developer dude. The entire city is going under — literally collapsing down big-arse holes appearing in the ground — and The Rock figures he should focus on saving his cheating wife who’s been blowing a real estate salesman.
But that’s not his main worry. The Rock also has a daughter (Alexandra Daddario) who likewise needs rescuing and that’s next on the list. Fuck the rest of the population, they can get their own helicopter.
The story progresses through our main characters impossibly avoiding countless ways to get squashed, buried, burned, mugged and drowned until they reach the inevitable, climactic conclusion. I’m sure you can figure it out for yourself. Don’t worry, no one gets really hurt. Well, none of cast — the good guys, at least.
Actually, you gotta hand it to the film’s makers that despite the utter chaotic, total destruction involved here you never really see any squished bodies in the streets or burning cats. It’s all kind of tastefully done, if that makes sense, and the only people who die are the villains who deserve it and one sacrificial lamb early in the movie. He was a nerd anyway.
Would I recommend it?
Okay, so the story line is silly, it encourages stealing helicopters (Bronwyn Bishop would approve) and our heroes continually survive the most incredibly dangerous situations. This is McGyver, The A Team and Rambo all combined into one and on lots of steroids. But the special effects and CGI stuff is gob-smacking and stunning — well worth the price of renting a DVD. The “big” scenes of rippling suburbs, smashing buildings and the tsunami at the end (yes, there’s a cool tsunami scene at the end… of course) are some serious popcorn-munching, beer-swilling movie moments. Awesome to watch. Who the hell cares about a credible story? Sure, in reality a zillion people would have been killed, but never mind that. Check out the Hoover Dam going down the gurgler. It’s like one enormous toilet being flushed with cars and terrified people getting stuck in the S-Bend. Cool!
Like I said, you only see the bad people getting crushed, slashed and crispy-fried. The moral of this film should be, “You never know where the next flying sea container is coming from”.
And no dogs were harmed during the making of this movie.
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