I approach natural disaster movies like our government approaches real natural disasters; I ignore it for a long time and then come back to it much later. San Andreas was on HBO, and since I’m a big fan of Dwayne Johnson, I decided to give it a shot. Here are my takeaways.
The Rock is literally invincible
- This dude can jump off planes, get hit by debris, punch people, and hold his breath underwater forever without getting a single scratch. All while being the most charismatic action star in Hollywood.
Guys will do anything to get it in
- Ben, the British guy who Blake meets and talks to for all of 5 minutes, risks his life to save her. More importantly, he risks his little brother’s life to rescue the attractive girl. I’d like to believe in heroes and the goodness of people, but it seemed rather far-fetched given the situation and the presence of his brother who depends on him.
If someone is dead, they don’t have to be as long as you keep doing CPR
- There needs to be a consensus in films about how long you can perform CPR before the character can come back to life. In some movies, CPR is done to a victim for like 7 seconds before they’re legally declared dead. In this movie, The Rock tries hard and fails to revive his drowned daughter like 3 or 4 times before it finally works at the end.
Step dads are evil
- It wouldn’t be a disaster movie without a main character with an estranged wife; a wife who now has a new boyfriend who later turns out to be a total douche. This of course results in the film gods smiting the shit out of the step dad figure, so the protagonist can get back together with his wife, and the audience doesn’t have to feel guilty about it.
Only Asian dude dies immediately
- Apparently, Asians dying first is the new “black character dies first” trope. Granted, the guy died a hero, but inclusion of Asians in Hollywood is still very limited, and short lived (pun very much intended).
You can survive your car rolling down a rock cliff without a scratch as long as your sole purpose is to demonstrate how heroic the protagonist is.
- The opening sequence of the movie shows a young woman ripped straight out of a ‘Millennial for Dummies’ guide. She’s on her phone texting and doing other irresponsible shenanigans while driving when she is caught in a landslide. Her car rolls 20 something times down what seemed like hundreds of feet of rock cliff, and she somehow survives this without visible damage, passing out, or instantly turning into millennial jelly.
The Rock can get away with saying just about anything
- In one scene, The Rock parachutes out of a plane with his soon-to-be ex wife and they land on a baseball stadium. As soon as they touch ground, The Rock says “It’s been a long time since I got you to second base,” and the woman didn’t immediately end her own life by diving into the giant hole in the San Andreas Fault.
Apparently, you need giant muscles to fight Mother Nature
- The Rock’s intensity and physique make him formidable in movies where he has to kill scores of two dimensional henchmen. But why were those muscles necessary for a movie about earthquakes and tsunamis? If anything those seem like a burden. He’s just a bigger target for falling debris, and just a heavier load for the helicopter during rescues. I.e. that first rescue scene, where rescue guy #1 screws up and needs backup. They pull out The Rock, who was the PILOT, and also the bulkiest dude, so he could go save the people stuck in the car. The only time The Rock needed his muscles was when he tore that car door out with his bare hands and threw it away, which was definitely put into the script last minute so d bags like myself don’t ask why muscles were necessary in this movie.
Other thoughts…This movie was near identical to the 2009 South Korean movie, “Haeundae,” aka “Tidal Wave”
I’m not saying they’re the same movie, but they might as well be. Some of the similarities were just uncanny.
- Both films have a geologist that no one listened to until it was too late.
- The disaster is a series of earthquakes that lead to a mega tsunami.
- In Haeundae, the main character is plagued by guilt for years after failing to save his love interest’s father who drowned. In San Andreas, The Rock feels responsible for failing to save his other daughter who drowned.
- Both have a main character who works with rescue.
Some visuals felt like frame by frame representations. For instance, that scene with the freighter coming out of nowhere, being carried in by the tidal wave and crashing down on the bridge, and the container crashing down on a person right in front of camera.
- The similarities end there though. The Korean version was plagued with trademark unnecessary, multiple soap opera style subplots and it was also way more depressing.
- Regardless of the holes in logic, this movie was a fun watch. The Rock is good in every movie, so that’s no real surprise.