Monday, March 14, 2016

"San Andreas" Starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Might be the Best Worst Movie You Will Ever See

If it’s possible to put every known screenwriting cliché into a single disaster epic, San Andreas, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, has done it. This movie is so conspicuous in its use of product placement, hackneyed plot and character devices, and cheesy CGI, that you almost have to wonder if it’s supposed to be parody of itself. 

Except it’s not, and I’m just glad I watched it for free on cable instead of in a theater for ten bucks plus popcorn.

The film centers on Ray Gaines, an L.A. Fire Department Air Rescue pilot played by the Rock, who is in the midst of divorcing a woman with collagen implants in her lips. He’s all set to drive their only living daughter to college in San Francisco in his DODGE RAM (the younger daughter, of course, died in a rafting accident in which Rock failed to save her) when a giant earthquake strikes the Hoover Dam and he’s called into action.

Meanwhile, a geeky Caltech seismologist (played by Paul Giamatti) and his slew of hipster millennial lab assistants begin typing away frantically on computers, drawing random equations on a whiteboard, displaying bright red emergency dots on the screens of their MAC BOOK AIR lap top computers while drinking DIET PEPSI, and breathlessly announcing their doomsday seismological conclusions to each other. Along the way, a reporter modeled on CNN's Christiane Amanpour helps the Caltech crew announce their findings on the air to anyone who will listen.

Because you see, it soon becomes clear that California is hours away from breaking off the continental United States like a snapped graham cracker in a series of massive earthquakes along the San Andreas fault from L.A. to San Francisco. During these earthquakes, every single man-made structure in and between the two cities collapses, burns, and disintegrates in a prodigious overuse of CGI technology.

Collagen Lips’ douchey real estate developer boyfriend--who though rich in skyscrapers and private airplanes—is seriously lacking in balls and masculinity compared to the Rock. He promised to take the daughter to college, but instead leaves her in a parking garage to die during the earthquake, a fact which she quickly calls her parents to convey. (It’s cool though, because Douchey BF, after wandering around San Francisco in one shoe, gets crushed by a shipping container on the collapsing Golden Gate Bridge, though not before Collagen Lips leaves a voice mail breaking up with him for ditching her daughter). Fortunately, daughter has met a cute, clean-cut, non-threatening British 20-something with good teeth and his little brother, and the two sweet Brits rescue her from the garage. Together, the threesome embarks on a journey across the City of San Francisco to catch up with Rock and Collagen Lips.

The rest of the movie is basically a series of superhuman feats performed by the Rock and his humongo triceps, presumably without the aid of a stunt double: Rescuing a girl AND another rescuer from a car accident in which the car is hanging off the edge of 500 foot cliff by its bumper; flying and and crash-landing several helicopters and small aircraft; hot-wiring yet another DODGE RAM; driving a jet boat through and over the crest of a tsunami; jumping out of an airplane with Collagen Lips on his back, pulling the parachute, and landing on his feet in the middle of a baseball stadium; and ultimately diving headfirst like Greg Louganis into a sunken building to rescue his daughter in redemption for letting the other one die in the aforementioned rafting accident. The Rock CPR's his daughter back to life, and after twelve minutes without oxygen and a few mouthfuls of coughed-up water, she is inexplicably totes fine. 

Ultimately, the whole family is reunited, and the daughter ends up with her cute British buddy. Everyone is destined to live happily ever after, since Rock, while surveying the charred hellscape that is now California from a mountainside, declares: “Now we rebuild.”

As far as I’m concerned, the only thing left to rebuild is my confidence that I will ever see anything but complete and utter shite on a movie screen again as long as I live.

San Andreas poster.jpg

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