‘San Andreas’: A disaster flick riddled with fault lines

The disaster movie of the 1970s hasnand’t gotten any better, just better looking.
Set during a record-breaking 9.6 magnitude earthquake along Californiaand’s most infamous fault line, and”San Andreasand” is a triumph of CGI mayhem, as Los Angeles buildings topple like stacks of Jenga bricks, a tsunami threatens San Francisco Bay and a yawning chasm opens up in the earth between them, as if a zipper had been drawn through Bakersfield. Itand’s viscerally thrilling to behold, especially in 3D.
Scarier still is how stagnant the genre has gotten in every other aspect. The dialogue in and”San Andreasand” is lame, its plot both predictable and implausible, and the character development beside the point. Even Dwayne Johnson, that force of cinematic nature and rock-ribbed charisma, doesnand’t have enough charm to dig this mess of a movie out of the rubble of clichandeacute itand’s buried in.
Johnson plays Ray, a hot-shot helicopter pilot with LA Fire and Rescue. Barely two minutes in, he and his cocky crew are introduced to us as they pluck a teenager from her car after it has gone off the road and is hanging from a cliff. The situation is dangerous, but the chopper crewand’s breezy banter in the face of death keeps things light.
This is one of the most annoying things about and”San Andreas.and” The dialogue is inappropriately jocular throughout, which undercuts the genuine terror it attempts to muster. After the quake starts and Ray has deposited his estranged wife, Emma (Carla Gugino), in the middle of Dodger Stadium via parachute, he turns to her and cracks wise: and”Itand’s been a while since I got you to second base.and” This, as human beings all around them are being pancaked by chunks of falling masonry the size of train cars.
One human being you might not mind seeing flattened is Emmaand’s new boyfriend, Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd). The filmand’s stock villain, Daniel is a heartless developer who turns tail and runs as soon as the ground starts trembling, leaving Ray and Emmaand’s daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), trapped under a cement beam in the parking garage beneath one of his buildings.
Thankfully, Blake is ministered to by a cute Brit named Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and his little brother, Ollie (Art Parkinson). These characters, along with Paul Giamattiand’s Chicken Little-like seismologist, get introduced one by one during a formulaic prologue — as they always do in such things — and before the film starts shaking them up. After that, it matters little who they are or what their backstories or agendas may be. Thereand’s plenty of downtime for Ray and Emma to talk about what went wrong with their marriage as they search for Blake — who by this point is imperiled by some other nightmare — but no one really cares.
Ooh, look at the Golden Gate Bridge get smashed!
In plot, and”San Andreasand” parallels the climate-change thriller and”The Day After Tomorrow,and” in which Dennis Quaidand’s climatologist hero trudged, preposterously, from DC to New York in a blizzard to rescue his son (Jake Gyllenhaal). Here, Ray travels from Los Angeles to San Francisco — by chopper, car, plane and boat — to save Blake.
Never mind that he doesnand’t know where she is, in a city of more than 800,000, and with only 47 square miles to cover before the movie ends.
As Ben says to Blake, just before smooching her in gratitude for pulling a shard of broken glass from his thigh, and”Youand’re absolutely unbelievable.and”
Two stars out of four. (c) The Washington Post 2015

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman