The story narrates the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in California and how a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his daughter.
Ray (Johnson) is a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter-rescue pilot. He has a daughter named Blake (Daddario) and is separated from his estranged wife, Emma (Gugino).
Meanwhile, Caltech seismologist Lawrence Hayes (Giamatti) and his colleague are in the process of making a breakthrough in earthquake prediction and unfortunately an unknown fault nearby ruptures, triggering a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that collapses the dam.
Ray is called into work and Blake unwillingly decides to go with her mother Emma's new boyfriend, Daniel Riddick (Gruffudd), a wealthy real estate developer, to San Francisco.
Hayes once again discovers that the San Andreas Fault is starting to shift, causing a massive 9.1 earthquake that starts devastating major cities along the fault line. When the quake hits Los Angeles, Ray saves his wife Emma and both of them barely escape the disaster in his helicopter.
In San Francisco, Blake and Daniel are trapped in their car on the basement when the earthquake strikes and Blake is saved by Ben (Johnstone-Burt) and Ollie (Parkinson), two brothers whom she had met moments before the earthquake. Blake calls her father for help and they head to San Francisco to save their daughter.
Adding to the misery, the engine in Ray's helicopter fails, causing him and Emma to make an emergency landing in nearby field. The duo travels through road till they reach the place and take help from an elderly couple who happen to own an airplane.
Meanwhile, Blake, Ben and Ollie try to find a spot in the city where Ray and Emma can save them and Hayes is able to warn others of a much bigger earthquake in San Francisco, just in time before it hits; becoming the largest earthquake ever in history, recorded as a 9.6.
Ray and Emma eventually land in San Francisco and get caught in Tsunami which has been triggered due to the massive earthquake. The tsunami floods the city, resulting in maximum casualties and destroying several buildings in the process.
Blake, Ben, and Ollie manage to run to safety and escape from the huge tides. Even before Ray and Emma could reach the place, Blake gets drowned in water. What happens next has been shown in the rest of the screenplay.
The flick has been made in a stunning way and manages to live up to the expectations of the audience.
Dwayne Johnson’s realistic performance has impressed his fans and his nail biting stunt sequences have been picturised well.
The CGI effects in this film are quite remarkable and help the audience to have a thrilling experience right from the beginning to the end of the film.
In other words, the film is a visually well-executed with lots of usual clichés which have become mandatory in disaster genre movies.