SAN ANDREAS is a hokey but surprisingly effective earthquake disaster movie. Dwayne Johnson plays an all-round nice guy father who happens to work a helicopter in LA Fire and Rescue. His ex-wife (Carla Gugino) is currently living with a rich real estate developer (Ioan Gruffudd) but as with all nice family in peril films, we learn that they didn't really divorce because they hate each other and the rich guy is evil. They have a spunky daughter (Alexandra Daddario) who hooks up with a junior nice guy Brit played by Hugo Johnstone-Burt and his regulation adorable kid brother. And so the movie unravels in a very predictable way. Hero-dad first has to save mum from LA earthquake, then save kids from San Francisco earthquake and tsunami. Meanwhile we have Paul Giamatti as the earnest desperate-to-warn-everyone scientist Archie Punjabi as the journo who helps get his message out.
It's hokey because the good guys are good and the bad guy is bad and it's all about family. But even thought the story holds no real surprises the disaster scenes are effectively done and there was no small tension in the big set pieces. Overall, I can see why the movie was popular and I think it comes down to the fact that Dwayne Johnson is just very likeable in a hulking earnest way and without the wise-ass ironic jokiness that has become the norm for Hollywood protagonists. Overall, this is well put together wholesome family fare.
SAN ANDREAS has a running time of PG-13 and is rated 114 minutes. The movie is on global release.