Starring: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Carla Gugino, Paul Giamatti, Alexandra Daddario, Kylie Minogue (Rated M – 114 min).
The infamous Californian subterranean fault finally gives way when the big-one shudders up the west coast taking down with it such landmarks as the Hollywood sign and Golden Gate Bridge. More remarkable that almost the entire film was filmed in Queensland.
Not to be confused as a remake of the 1974 old school disaster epic Earthquake with Charlton Heston, this is a direct all out adventure thriller with its own forte into all out adventure thrills filled with human emotion and family ties.
As Ray, former rock and roll wrestler Dwayne ’The Rock’ Johnson is lead helicopter pilot for the LA fire department, known for his quick decisions and risk assessment to save people under the most extreme circumstances. Estranged from his wife Emma (a powerful Carla Gugino) and teenage daughter Blake, he remains close to both – nothing like a disaster to get them back together.
When the earthquake starts to bump up the richter scale, environmental scientists begin to get worried. Slight tremors escalate high enough, fast enough to break the walls of the hoover dam and that’s when all hell breaks loose, literally. Interesting, confronting and fantastic, this is a big screen must see.
Emma and Blake are separated but no problem, both have excellent survival skills engrained into them by Ray in case of such an emergency. Tsunamis hit hard causing all sorts of destruction in a down town disaster zone being threatened by another looming quake that could be so big that scientists predict it may be felt on the West Coast.
Reliable in every movie in which he appears, Paul Giamatti is the voice of reason half worried but half loving that his fatal prediction of the big-one has arrived. Thanks to director Brad Peyton, he assures the characters are driven by family, especially Emma who no matter what the circumstance, she is still a strong mother to her daughter.
Plenty of lighter moments assist in the audience breathing during so many exciting visceral moments except for an unfortunate all too brief cameo by singing budgie Kylie Minogue.
Shane A. Bassett