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San Andreas
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In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his estranged daughter.

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San Andreas online movie review - Destructive Summer Fare

For a while, I thought I was seeing a Roland Emmerich film. In fact, I could have sworn it was a Roland Emmerich film due to all that cataclysmic-disaster and wanton destruction featured in the film.

For those of you who don't Roland Emmerich-he is that director who helmed commonplace summer natural catastrophic films like (Independence Day) and (The Day after Tomorrow)-sacrificing story and plot for sheer entertainment. However, San Andreas is directed by Brad Peyton and his utilization of sequences suggests that he is either trying to mimic Roland Emmerich or trying to outdo him.

I couldn't agree more when a film writer from screenrant.com said-in his/her own words: "Hollywood has been kind to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. True! I couldn't agree more. He is one of the most successful wrestlers turn actor. He is that sure guy who you go to when you need a little bit of muscle and badass attitude in action figure. And as a result over half of his Filmography is in the action genre: (Fast and Furious Franchise), (Hercules) (Faster) etcetera. However, apart from the usual comfort-zone-acting, his character is laden by worry-with appropriate reason for that worry.

Here he plays Raymond Gaines: a Los Angeles Fire Department Air rescue going through a divorce. Raymond divorce stems from the fact that he feels responsible for one of his daughter's death. After Blake (Raymond's surviving child) travels with Daniel: Emma's boyfriend (Raymond's wife) to San Francisco, an earthquake strikes obliterating the city. Raymond attempts to rescue Blake despite the continued destruction of the city-hoping that he doesn't lose another child.

Despite the concerned nature of The Rock's character, there is little exposition for the character's mood. Dwayne Johnson though is able to pull off that season fire department rescuer with ease and seasoned experience. Here, he sort of lays back and allow the events of the film to take centre stage. Though there are still the usual displays of heroics here and there especially in that beginning scene, which looked like if the earthquake has started from there. But those courageous attitudes and behaviours are used to match the urgency of the situation rather than downright showing off of strength as we have come to see in some of his films (Looking at you Hercules). Don't get me wrong, The Rock is one of the stand- outs entertainers of our time: the type you will call a "Movie Star" and not a "Movie Actor".

It has become a norm for most films to please its audience than educate on the revolving occurrences. San Andreas falls into that category. Scenes explaining what an earthquake is are usually done through fast-talking tectonic-plates seismic, blab-blab gibberish. I finished the film and yet am still not able to offer a simple definition of what an earthquake is. I should be able to do that considering that I've just finished seeing a film featuring falling skyscrapers and landscapes that seem to meander like a liquid flow. In the supporting characters, no one shines because expectedly women are still made to become the supportive figure (Carla Gugino's character). And the only female figure (Alexandra Daddario) that does something still looks as hot as ever after surviving earth- changing seismic events. And lest I forget, let me get this of my mind. Firstly, what's up with the similar make-up given to Carla Gugino and Alexandra: black hair/black hair, same shades of eye pencil in a too glaring attempt to make them look like mother/daughter? Secondly, what was the importance of Ioan Gruffuld role to the film? The film could have turned out well without his character, maybe save cost of production from the viewpoint of cast's wages. For Christ's sake, he was in the whole film without any importance to the plot screaming at each quake, surviving each with luck. And then when you think he might survive this ordeal, he is taken off the film in a much familiar death scene. That death scene is even more stupefied because of the helpless look on his face. It is not just an insult to the actor's talent but to the actor himself.

Nevertheless, all praises to the film's special effects, catastrophe and on-screen San-Francisco's obliteration. Watching as the earthquake levels the whole city is entertaining and as such the audience feels less pity for the extras who scream around. Brad Peyton captures the wanton tragedy very well with believability from the quakes leveling down the skyscrapers down to the tsunami storm engulfing the city. There are several sequences which stood out. Particularly, I liked that scene where The Rock tries to beat a tsunami wave by speeding over it with a speed boat and when he seem successful a cargo ship follows with its containers spilling out- almost crushing the main characters. I also liked how the director scattered debris over the waters which had swallowed the city. And that sequence, that particular sequence where a cruise liner is washed on-land by the tsunami waves is commendable. The massive scale destruction makes for an interesting watch and the consequences of that are shown if only a little, especially that time where we see individuals stealing from an electronics store.

Truth is that, San Andreas is the perfect blockbuster entertainment (destruction and all) that goes out of its way to please its audience so much that emphasis is removed from its casualties and placed on the survivors, but it could do away with certain elements and incorporate some-plot wise. Rating: 2 ½ stars out of 4.

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