Few Faults with San Andreas

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San Andreas Blu-Ray Dennis Russo Critical Blast Dwayne Johnson

SAN ANDREAS on Blu-ray and DVD is a non-stop action movie that takes place basically in San Francisco and areas along the…you guessed it, San Andreas Fault line.

There is not a lot of back story here, as the movie starts with tremors happening within the first couple of minutes. Then the basics of the story are revealed through a college classroom dissertation on seismic activity by Caltech Seismologist Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti), talking about the biggest earthquakes in history, and that it is more important than ever to be able to predict where they will happen to save lives. A young associate of the professor figures out how the tremor felt at the beginning of the movie could possibly predict a larger one by using the model they developed, and while testing it at Hoover Dam…well, I don't want to spoil things, but I bet you can guess what happens next.

The movie’s action starts in early and never really slows down. We get our first glimpse of Dwayne Johnson as Ray Gaines, the leader of a helicopter rescue team who perform a rescue operation while being interviewed in the air about their heroics now and when they were in Iraq. This is where the only real storyline exists in my book: we learn that Ray and his estranged wife Emma (Carla Gugino) are finalizing their divorce. He plans on taking their daughter Blake (Alexandra Deddario) to San Francisco, but because of the disaster at Hoover Dam, he is called back to work, and Blake has to go to San Fran with her mother’s soon-to-be live-in boyfriend, Daniel Riddick (Ioan Gruffud), a multi-millionaire real estate developer. While Ray is working, the “Big One” hits and Blake, Emma and Ray are all separated while San Francisco is shaken to its core.  The movie then becomes a race of Ray finding Emma and then both of them finding Blake.

Now, don’t get me wrong; this an action flick in the truest sense of the words, and a fun watch, but there are some movies Dwayne Johnson is in when you see him as Dwayne the actor, and this is the case here. He comes off here as “The Rock.” This isn’t his fault (ha-ha); from the way the camera angles show him, to his lines (both very reminiscent of Arnold Schwarzenegger) to the way nothing stops him from his goals, he just comes off as “The Rock.” It doesn’t help matters that he’s physically bigger than not only everyone else in the movie, but he seems too big for the helicopter, boats and cars he’s seen in too. I mean, when the city was crumbling all around -- death, destruction, mayhem everywhere -- Ray is flying his helicopter around looking for where he can help and what does he do? He spots Emma atop a crumbling skyscraper and flies in to rescue her. Who else but "The Rock" could do that? Then when Blake (spoiler alert) appears to have drowned, Ray manages to resuscitate her after, mind you, escaping from a crumbling, sinking skyscraper! I guess if "The Rock" says you don’t die, you don’t die!

The special effects are as you would expect: impressive and in 4K UHD the amount of detail is startling. The only part I found myself being focused on was that at times when Ray and Emma are in a boat navigating the devastation, the sense of scale seemed a little off, they seemed a little too big for the scene around them.

The sound is impressive, too, and if you have a soundbar or surround sound system you’ll enjoy it even more.

Acting wise, I enjoyed everyone’s portrayals. I am a big fan of both Dwayne and Carla and their acting abilities, and they carried the day for me. This is not to say Ms. Deddario didn’t do a fine job, as well as the rest of the supporting cast. I particularly liked Paul Giamatti as Caltech Seismologist Lawrence Hayes, who was the teacher and scientist whose earthquake predicting model set the stage for things to come.

I also enjoyed the fact that Dwayne and Carla did many, if not all, of their own stunts when possible. This is important in a movie like this, because when someone stands up after falling down, off or through something, if it’s not the person that actually did it, there is a missing sense of reality that is easy to spot.

By the time the movie ends you’re left spent from a non-stop roller coaster ride.

I recommend this movie to anyone who likes an action movie but doesn’t mind a not-too-deep plot and a larger than life leading man. While it probably was awesome to see on the big screen, it is still impressive on Blu-ray in HD; SAN ANDREAS has little faults.

The extras are kind of typical but fun to watch, and don’t take up hours of more time to watch. Included on the Blu-ray in addition to the DVD and Digital HD copy are:

Commentary

San Andreas: The Real Fault Line (Making of)

Dwayne Johnson To The Rescue

Scoring the Quake

Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Brad Peyton

Gag Reel

Stunt Reel

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0