It’s probably more indicative of my utterly hopeless mindset than of the quality of the film that I found myself pleasantly surprised by this disaster flick. Waiting for the movie to start, I tried to run down the last disaster film I actually thought was a great movie. The ones I came up with were all a bit uncomfortable in the genre: The War of the Worlds, The Impossible, Godzilla. Well, whatever. Anyway, earthquakes, tsunamis and all that. Johnson is a charismatic leading man, but he’s always been about the best actor of the “wrestlers turned actors” class and he gets some nice moments, most especially a quiet speech (given when, sure, no one in their right mind would be giving a quiet speech) about a family tragedy. And Alexandria Daddario is, and I’m a guy who posts in the feminism thread and the misogyny one too, a stone cold fo, so I don’t mind watching her menaced by falling rocks for forty-five minutes or so. But Paul Giamatti is the real treasure here; he treats it like Shakespeare and to the degree that a movie where people survive a tsunami by driving a tiny boat straight up the face of the ninety-degree wave can be anchored in reality, he does that. But it’s rarely that stupid. It’s often just clichéd and unimaginative, but rarely annoyingly so. I mean, no need to be a jerk. Whatever. 2 ½ stars.
tl;dr – disaster movie traffics in clichés like there’s no tomorrow, but the actors give solid, surprisingly genuine performances amidst the silliness. 2 ½ stars.