All original written content is (c) 2015 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a soon-to-be-divorced Dad/LAFD rescue pilot who tries to rescue his hot wife, his hotter daughter, his broken family, Los Angeles and San Francisco from the largest earthquake in history.
In the meantime, a lot of stuff gets wrecked.
Written by Carlton Cuse; story by Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore. Directed by Brad Peyton.
Gotta state the obvious: Stuff gets smashed. Special effects are awesome; buildings, bridges, cars, dams and more crumble, crash, blast and blow-up with convincing coolness. And it’s loud–real loud. I sat pretty close to be part of the action and I was drawn in to the destruction delightfully. (And I only saw it in DFX larger format with Dolby Atmos sound, not 3-D, D-Box or Imax.)
The Rock rocks, as he always does. Sure, he’s pretty much the same character in every movie–the take-charge macho mega-male–but what do you expect from a manly man’s man with those mighty muscles? Woody Allen?
The action starts within the first minute and there’s not too many minutes of rest or chances to get bored; the required “character development” scenes are kept to a minimum as necessary.
Comic-book and fantasy fans may enjoy seeing The Fantastic Four’s Mr. Fantastic/Forever’s Henry Morgan as the Mom’s rich architect boyfriend/nice guy/sudden douche and what happens to him. And fans of Arrow get to see Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) try to be a hero and get rescued by the star, just like on the TV show.
Those who hate LA, SanFran or California(ns) in general will no doubt get a kick out of seeing it all laid to waste in spectacular short order. (Though unfortunately, no shots of Jerry Brown or his onscreen liberal equivalent getting crushed by a high-speed train. Or Ed Begly Jr. getting pancaked by an electric bus.)
Another group, red-blooded American hetero men—like yer pal Bru—will have some heavy fuel for their mom-and-daughter fantasies after seeing Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario as the Rock’s wife and co-ed daughter, respectively. (In fact, I bet Dwayne’s character would be nicknamed “The Rock” because his Johnson saw all the butt and cleavage shots throughout this flick.) And the first shots of D-cup Daddario in a bosomy bikini is enough to make any reg’lar guy quake in his shorts! Hubba!
Paul Giamatti as the scientist who warns everyone is good, as he always is, though his considerable talents are underused. And he’s never shown as being “not believed” like 95 percent of disaster movies, so there’s no satisfactory sense of “justice” or “respect earned” as in those other flicks.
The British guy and his little bro are well-cast, likable and never annoying. I rooted for them more than anybody else (other than the Rock–and the earthquake, of course).
Couple funny bits with Dwayne’s tough-guy persona, and Carla’s tough-chick side.
Speedboat vs. cargo ship vs. tsunami. Guess the winners!
It’s educational. I had no idea which were the biggest recorded earthquakes in US and world history. Or how SF’s Nob Hill got its name. (Had nothin’ to do with gay guys, like I thought.) Not worth eight bucks, but at least I learned a few facts. (FROM MIKE: Sadly, not making cliched “gay San Francisco” jokes wasn’t one of them!)
Great new drinking game: every time someone has a super-close call or escapes at the last…possible…second, take a swig. You’ll be tipsy in 20 minutes.
–This will make a great theme park ride some day. (Did I mention stuff gets wrecked?)
With the odd exception of Bakersfield, Californians are apparently quite well-behaved when panicking during disasters, follow directions pretty well and don’t loot, rape, kill or fight each other. (Who knew this was a fantasy film?)
No drop-off. In other words, people in the Central Valley do not end up with beachfront property.
Did you know that if your econo-box car goes off a cliff and tumbles end-over-end several times, you will not only survive without broken bones or major injuries, but not even lose consciousness for more than a few seconds? And that your cell phone will remain with you and work perfectly too? Neither did I. In other words, realism crumbles as quickly as the concrete.
Also good to know you can get a giant piece of glass stuck in and pulled out of yer thigh, and then walk normally again in a couple hours, even after walking blocks and climbing flights of stairs!
Ioan Gruffudd’s character went from nice guy to George Costanza pretty quickly and without much reason–other than the plot needed it.
As hot as Gugino is, she’s not when she cries.
When the city of New Orleans flooded after hurricane Katrina, there were countless people (and many animals) stranded on rooftops, swimming for their lives and floating lifeless in the nasty water drowning the streets. But if San Francisco ever floods from the Pacific Ocean, the streets will be completely free of not only people but all sea life as well! Makes it a lot easier to drive a boat thru it, I guess.
Those sensitive to language may be surprised to hear a couple (arguably unnecessary) uses of the “F” word…and those sensitive to nudity will be suprised there isn’t any (totally necessary) nakedness!
Ignore the crappy reviews from idiots expecting Shakespeare with shaking. It’s a friggin’ disaster flick with a bodybuilder main character. It’s not on par with Earthquake or The Towering Inferno, but those basically began the genre so it’s not a fair comparison. If you want to see the Hoover Dam turned into Lego pieces and oher similar spectacles, see this on the big screen and get sucked into the fun. (If you want to watch the T-and-A scenes over and over and in slo-mo like me, you’ll have to wait and get it on DVD.) Either way, though this has its faults and a shaky premise, it ain’t a disaster.
(MIKE: Unlike his stupid puns.)
Hey, I heard that!
P.S.: Pascale can draw some hot-bodded babes and mighty musclemen to make any straight or gay dude shake with joy. Get your own original to hang on yer wall or give to a bud. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, the cities of LA, SF or Bakersfield, the state of California, the government idiots in Sacramento, gay or straight men or women, sea creatures, bosomy babes or the men who love them, British actors or the women who love them, nor Charlton Heston. If the greatest earthquake on record hit 9.5 on the Richter scale, Bru’s bed would hit a 9.9 if he ever got Carla and Alexandra in it. (And it would take them half that many seconds to get the hell out of there.)