If there is ever a disaster on the same scale as San Andreas around here, I want Ray (Dwayne Johnson) to rescue me.
This mega-disaster flick opens with a pulse pounding rescue of a girl trapped in her car which is precariously hanging from a rock. The next stop is a big drop down to a river. Ray and his crew, accompanied by a news reporter and cameraman, get their rescue helicopter in just the right place to save the girl in the nick of time.
The EMT is planning to take his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) back to college. Just before picking her up, he gets a call to go to Nevada. When telling his daughter the bad news, he discovers his ex-wife Emma (Carla Gugino) is moving in with her boyfriend, the wealthy Daniel Riddick (Ioan Gruffudd). Daniel offers to fly Blake to San Francisco and then to Seattle.
While that’s going on, Lawrence (Paul Giamatti), a seismologist at Cal-Tech, has found a way to predict quakes using electro-magnetic pulses. He and his group are at Hoover Dam when a big earthquake takes out the dam.
Lawrence returns to Los Angeles to discover readings all along the San Andreas fault are way up, and before he can warn anyone except, coincidentally, the news reporter and her cameraman, LA is rocked with a massive quake. Ray, taking his chopper to maintenance, is in the air and on the phone to his ex-wife when it hits.
In a brilliantly short and bitchy cameo, Kylie Minogue plays Riddick’s ex-wife Susan. Emma and Susan are meeting for a lunch where Emma gets the grilled special. Emma is not at the table when the quake hits. Ray swings by to literally “pick up” Emma, and together they head to San Francisco to get their daughter.
Lawrence has discovered that the temblor San Francisco just experienced was a warm up for the big one, and this time can get a warning out. Blake is trapped in a car in a San Francisco parking garage. Riddick has left her, saying he was getting help. He told a security guard about her and ran. A young man she met earlier, Ben (Hugh Johnstone-Burt) and his younger brother Ollie (Art Parkinson) come to her rescue.
While searching for Blake, we discover Ray can majorly fly a chopper, pilot a plane, hook his wife in a tandem parachute harness and jump out of that plane, drive a boat into a tsunami and weave and dodge all the debris in the flood waters without fouling the propeller, and hold his breath long enough to make Aquaman jealous. “San Andreas” is proof Johnson can carry a movie on those big, broad shoulders.
Watching LA and San Francisco tumble to the ground was impressive but it was the canyons and destroyed bridges in the country that showed the power of the earthquakes and aftershocks. More to the point, with the recent flooding here in Oklahoma, added to our own earthquakes and tornadoes, we’re close to a national disaster ourselves.
And when it all hits the fan, I want Ray here to save me.