Directed by Brad Peyton, starring Duane Johnson aka The Rock.
Simon Morris looks at an old-fashioned disaster movie to see if it's any great shakes.
You want to see the biggest earthquake ever invented? Welcome to San Andreas.
We open on Big Duane in his trusty helicopter rescuing a blonde California babe from certain death.
No sooner can you say “What a guy”, than we’re back on the ground, dealing with Helicopter Ray’s messy home-life. He and his gorgeous wife Emma are separated – she chose a weedy English architect for some reason – but he still has time to see his even more gorgeous daughter Blake.
The weedy architect has just tempted Fate by building the biggest edifice in San Francisco, just crying out to be toppled by seismic forces. And, what do you know, here comes one…
This is certainly a satisfactory opening for a disaster film, but we seriously need a few more stories.
The only ones on offer seem to be Helicopter Ray’s daughter stuck in San Francisco being struck by Earthquake Number One, while Ray’s wife is stuck in LA being hit by Earthquake Number Two. Which one will Ray go to?
Anyone asking this question hasn’t seen too many films starring The Rock. Both of course, while flexing his muscles and yelling helpful instructions like “Look out!” and “Let’s go!”
As mayhem breaks out all over California, the producers take their eye off the various balls at their disposal. The weedy architect hurries out of his Towering Inferno and is basically never seen again. The glamorous wife spends much of her time solo, having buildings fall on her, before hooking up with The Rock, where they can have buildings fall on both of them. Or be attacked by a giant Tsunami.
My companion at San Andreas sneered that it’s a film that makes you forgive previous disaster-master Roland Emmerich everything.
I wouldn’t go that far, but I can’t deny it’s a film made up entirely of sound, fury, The Rock and nothing else.
Popcorn - extremely heavy on the “pop”.