Rating: PG-13, for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language.
Earthquakes ravage the entire state of California — including an historic one that levels San Francisco at 9.6 on the Richter scale, followed by a tsunami — but it’s all played for summer thrills in this CGI-heavy disaster epic. Dwayne Johnson stars as a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter pilot who commandeers various vehicles to save his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) and their daughter (Alexandra Daddario) from the destruction. It’s like Planes, Trains & Automobiles, with a catastrophic body count. Seriously, millions of people die in this movie. But since it’s rated PG-13, the totality of the carnage gets glossed over. It’s all extremely over the top, but the massive spectacle might frighten younger viewers. Buildings topple, glass rains from the sky, the ground rips open to create giant chasms and the threat of yet another aftershock is constant. There’s also some serious talk between Johnson and Gugino’s characters about the daughter they lost in a drowning accident. Gugino also gets the pleasure of uttering the one well-chosen F-bomb you get with a PG-13 movie. Probably OK for kids around 8 or 9 and older.