Tinashe Kusema Film Review
\nI remember with a heavy heart one of the last conversations that l had with a friend of mine who is now late, the subject was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. This guy, who was a friend of a friend who has a friend who is connected, thought that “The Rock” is God’s gift to cinema. Over the past couple of years, my late friend had built a reputation as one of the premier bootleggers in town.

\n

He would, from time to time, hook me up with some of the latest Hollywood releases and I actually thought that he was the infamous Jack Sparrow.

\n

I only found out he was not the nefarious outlaw after he ceased to be among the living.
\nAs a big wrestling fan, he bought “The Rock’s” hype and was always in awe of the eyebrow raising, trash talking Brahma bull and all his catchphrases, and as such his opinion tended to be biased.

\n

I knew better and I continue to be of the opinion that Dwayne Johnson is in actual fact a no talent who could not act himself out of an “acting for beginners’ class”.

\n

I only mention this now because as it turns out, I was right after all. For all the hype and marketing strategy that the Hollywood machine tried to muster, his latest offering “San Andreas” tragically falls flat on its face as a disaster movie and is in actual fact an embarrassment to the genre.

\n

The movie tells the story of Ray, a rescue pilot, who on the aftermath of a massive earthquake embarks on a journey across Los Angeles and San Francesco to rescue his daughter who is trapped in the city.

\n

Normally, I would try giving you guys a bit more of an insightful synopsis, one that narrates the plot and sub-plots effectively, but sadly the above is just about the gist of the entire movie.

\n

In Act one, we are introduced to our antagonists and protagonists, which in this case are Ray and the quake itself.
\nOur hero embarks on CGI loaded daring rescue, one which involves him navigating a helicopter through a narrow cannon, while we get first glimpses of the damage the quake is about to inflict.

\n

We jump straight to Paul Giamatti (Lawrence), who has been working on a machine that predicts earthquakes. His first field test not only yields positive results but also predicts a bigger quake on the horizon.

\n

The sad part about this first act is that Dwayne does not do much except grunt and try to look cool while Giamatti, the true star of the film (in my book), fades into the background.

\n

From then onwards, the movie turns into a two-men show as the quake and Dwayne trade screen time, stunts and CGI special effects.
\nDirector, Brad Peyton, could have fared better by taking a page or two out of the other numerous disaster flicks. He could also have tried to paint a more realistic picture of the cities.

\n

Now the obvious, or in this case educated assumption is that the toned-down aspect of the film was simply to make way for a narrative or some actual human contact and dialogue.

\n

Sadly that was not the case. Dwayne Johnson barely says anything of substance throughout the entire movie except occasionally dropping a bard here and there as he tried his best to act.

\n

The sub-plots were also badly handled, specifically Lawrence’s role in the movie. For some reason, he never shared a single scene with our “hero” and spends large chunks of the movie away from danger despite being the only person with some knowledge on how to deal with the earthquake.

\n

Ray is painted as some hero, with over 600 rescue missions under his belt, but he totally ignores the carnage around him as he sets out to rescue his daughter.

\n

After going into a shell due to his other daughter’s death and losing his family to a millionaire, Loan Gruffud, Dwayne fails in his delivery when the movie tries to tackle this sub-plot.

\n

Speaking of Gruffud, he only breaks up a family and runs away at the first sight of danger.
\nHis death is actually kind of an anti-climax, much like what happened to King Joffrey from “Game of Thrones”. However, the biggest stars are without a doubt Alexander Daddario and Giamatti.

\n

The duo ooze acting charisma, often being funny or serious when it’s required.
\nGiamatti shows off his acting chops during one of the key moments of the film, especially when he warns the city of the impending danger. The speech, the facial expression and the delivery were marvellous. Constraint is also the film’s biggest merit, something that is quite refreshing in the genre.

\n

Unlike most movies in this genre, the deaths are quite subdued, lacking the bloody and gruesome aspect of it all, while most of the artwork is toned down.