31st May2015

‘San Andreas Quake’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jhey Castles, Jason Woods, Grace Van Dien, Elaine Partnow, Lane Townsend, Robert Evans, Kyle Barok, Chris Clanton, James Cleveland, Alex Diehl, Bill Voorhees, David Alan Giat | Written and Directed by John Baumgartner

san-andreas-quake

After the infamous San Andreas Fault finally gives, triggering a magnitude 9 earthquake in California, a search and rescue helicopter pilot and his estranged wife make their way together from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter. But their treacherous journey north is only the beginning. And when they think the worst may be over… it’s just getting started.

Oops, wrong synopsis!

Yes, once again mockbuster kings The Asylum cash-in on the release of another Summer blockbuster – in this case the Dwayne Johnson disaster movie San Andreas – with a direct to market title that takes a sliver of the same story and spins their own, low-budget, take on the same subject matter in the hopes of confusing the unsuspecting public…

San Andreas Quake tells the story of Molly Dunn, a discredited L.A. seismologist who, when she warns of an impending 12.7 earthquake, is not taken seriously – at all. Now on her own, she races desperately to get her family to safety before the earthquake breaks Los Angeles apart from the mainland.

Just when you think The Asylum are making progress, at least in tems of production and originality, along comes San Andreas Quake… Whilst films like Avengers Grimm, Hercules Reborn and Mercenaries show just how good thir productions can be, be they mockbuster or not, this film takes a massive step back, making the cheesy effects of Sharknado and its sequel(s) look like CGI masterpieces. Oh, and did I mention CGI hippos and stock footage giraffes? The less said about those the better!

Yes, early-2000 looking CG (there’s a particularly bad example of a “rock slide” early on in the film) mixed with stock footage taken from other movies, means this film plays out like the earliest The Asylum movies – you know, the ones that got the company THAT reputation… A reputation for merely producing movies to dupe joe public into buying their crappy versions of Hollywood blockbusters. Judging by this movie, that rep is never really going to go away.

To be fair, San Andreas Quake does at least have two decent leads on whose shoulders the film is carried. After all, when you’ve got crappy special effects and nothing but a knock-off story to tell – this film even pastiches the cliche of older-aged characters sacrificing themselves for the “greater good” – as seen in every disaster movie, ever – you have to a least have interesting characters played by good (well maybe OK-ish) actors, right? At least this film has that going for it.

Jhey Castles and Jason Woods, as Molly Dunn and her student Nick respectively, have a decent chemistry and can – unlike some of the cast – actually emote when needed. In fact Castles, who is the spitting image of Law & Order: SVU‘s Mariska Hargitay, is no stranger to The Asylum’s productions – having appeared previously in Hansel & Gretel and Apocalypse Pompeii – and it shows. Although there really was no need for the opening movie flashback to here characters childhood was there? Oh no, her dad was killed in an earthquake… now she’s a seismologist; and she got a prediction wrong in 2008. Yeah, getting a prediction worng would have been enough motivation to be honest; especially given the fact that Molly’s fathers death is NEVER mentioned again. That “mistake” is though, multiple times!

Any movie from The Asylum is never going to match up to the big-budget blockbuster is “homages” but San Andreas Quake is bad even for one of the companies mockbusters. The Asylum can, and have, done better – so why the step backwards here?

San Andreas Quake  is available to rent or buy on VOD now.

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