San Andreas is a heavy dramatic overload. Unfortunately, it graphically plays out what could be the ultimate reality show. The story centers around Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the professional wrestler who made acting equally lucrative. Johnson’s few remaining critics will gleefully remind you that he once played the Tooth Fairy, but just when you may be inclined to laugh at him, he comes out and turns in this gripping performance and shows you the other side—a versatile, mature actor who’s not afraid to tackle any role, an accomplished thespian who handles everything in life as he does in the wrestling ring, a reputation that earned him the name “people’s champion”
Johnson is Los Angeles Fire Department rescue helicopter pilot Ray Gaines, who is struggling through divorce with his wife Emma (Carla Gugino) The fact that a weekend in San Francisco he was planning with his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) is virtually washed out by the collapse of the Hoover Dam adds to his growing problem as he meets the man who’s moved in on his wife, Daniel Riddick (Ioan Gruffudd, who was the stretchy Reed Richards in Fantastic Four). Daniel has business in San Francisco, so he offers to take Blake there.
The subplot involves Paul Giamatti as Dr Lawrence Hayes, whose crew believes they have found a way to predict earthquakes. The disaster at Hoover Dam proves them right, but their theory points to an upcoming monster quake, the really “Big One” that’s currently about 100 years overdue in real life, and at this point the movie digs in and becomes involving.
Los Angeles is hit by a large quake, and there can be no more an iconic take on it than watching the Hollywood sign crumble. The Hayes team deduces that the entire San Andreas Fault is on the move, culminating with a huge quake in San Francisco. That quake turns out to be a 9.6, and the cataclysm isn’t helped by the associated tsunami that washes through the Bay Area and wipes out the Golden Gate Bridge as it kills Riddick. Gaines rescues his wife from a collapsing building in L.A., then the two of them head for San Francisco to rescue Blake.
This would seem to be a ridiculous plot twist, but ask any devoted parent and they would probably do the same thing. Blake is not alone, though. two brothers from England, Ben and Ollie, help her out of her damaged car in a parking garage and assist her in getting reunited with her parents.
All this takes a back seat to the spectacular effects that incidentally have been minutely disseminated by scientists who have given their unwitting seal of approval by stating that visually it could very well turn out like this. The last line in the movie keeps tabs on the stupidity of the human race when Johnson says “Now, we rebuild.” This cements the minute brain capacity of man, who when nature destroys all he has built, he turns around and rebuilds on that very same spot. If this film doesn’t succeed in making all inhabitants of southern California leave there and move somewhere safer, there is no hope for the human race.