San Andreas

san andreasSpoiler alert: Why do I detest most graphically violent action films yet am attracted to disaster films? Perhaps because mother nature’s destruction is easier to swallow than human evil. So I found myself sitting down to the newly released San Andreas this weekend and enjoying it. Yes, it’s formulaic. Yes, it borrows heavily from The Day After Tomorrow, albeit a much lighter version. Full disclosure I have to admit I wouldn’t watch San Andreas if say Tom Cruise or Arnold were starring in it. There are very few action stars I find hot. Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg are probably the only muscle in Hollywood I find attractive. Okay, Vin Diesel too. So it was an easy choice to sit down and spend a mind-numbing evening with the former Rock and his disaster movie. Yes, there’s sexism in this. Dwayne’s Ray is big and brawny and a patriotic orgasm of a L.A. firefighter. His ex-wife Emma played by Carla Gugino (Match) is currently hooked up with a rich, less beefy boyfriend Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd). In the end, Daniel does everything wrong in a crisis and by that I mean he turns into a selfish man whose every choice involves saving himself. Ray on the other hand saves not only his family, but the people around him as well. He is the quintessential hero. But the real surprise to San Andreas is the gender flip from The Day After Tomorrow. Instead of having the smart father-son team, San Andreas’ hero combination is father-daughter. Go Johnson’s Ray and his beautiful, brave, and resourceful daughter Blake played by Alexandra Daddario. After being ditched by Daniel, Blake teams up with brothers Ben and Ollie who admit once the earth has stopped shaking and buildings have stopped tumbling that it was she who saved them. Kudos to the producers and writers for the girl power message. As visibly big as Johnson’s muscles are throughout the film, they are matched perfectly with Daddario’s resourcefulness, strength, and intellect. In the end, San Andreas is what it is – formulaic and schmaltzy. But that’s part of its charm. In the film’s final moment, Emma asks Ray, “what happens now?” There is a pause where I sit in the living room screaming “rebuild, rebuild!” Suddenly an American flag unfurls on the Golden Gate Bridge. Ray looks at the flag with pride and quietly says, “we rebuild.” 3 out of 5 for the earth-shattering San Andreas.

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