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San Andreas

For those of us of a certain age that fondly remember the disaster movie rage that started with "Airport" and "The Poseidon Adventure" and ran through the appropriately named Irwin Allen bomb "When Time Ran Out" in 1980, the 1974 classic "Earthquake" holds a special place in our memories.

41 years later, SAN ANDREAS takes the best elements of the earlier film, dumps much of the fluff, polishes it with $100 million worth of special effects and serves up a terrific popcorn movie.

Dwayne Johnson comes into his own as LA Rescue Chopper pilot named Ray, who finds himself in a desperate race to save his family when the biggest quake of all time rips the San Andreas fault open from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Carla Gugino is perfectly cast as Ray's estranged wife Emma, who is about to move in with her wealthy new boyfriend Daniel Riddick, who happens to be an architect building the tallest building in San Francisco (anyone smell embers of The Towering Inferno?).

Paul Giamatti is a college professor who discovers the ability to predict earthquakes about two days too late, Alexandra Daddario is Ray and Emma's daughter, who of course finds herself smack dab in the middle of San Fran when the big one hits.

Carlton Cuse (LOST) wrote the screenplay and it does a nice job of not getting caught up in a million characters, but telling the story through the eyes of one family.

The story doesn't provide a lot of surprises. It's very predictable, but you didn't come to this movie for clever plot twists did you?

No, we all come to San Andreas for massive scenes of CGI realistic destruction on an enormous scale, watching landmarks we all know crumble to the ground around our characters. On that count, this fast moving hit delivers again and again, cleverly spacing out the destruction of Los Angeles in the first act and the leveling of San Francisco in the second half.

Johnson is at his best in a role built for him. We'd all rather have The Rock digging through rubble for us than Charlton Heston in a corduroy sport coat, right?

A visual and aural special effects bonanza, there isn't a scene that doesn't look 100% authentic. The final scenes in a nearly unrecognizable and very wet downtown San Francisco are amazing.

Is it a cheesy and predictable story? Yep.

Does it deliver everything you want in a disaster flick? ABsoLUTEly.

Hold onto something, this is a great ride that we'll give a perfect summer movie A.

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