Dir. Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schrieber, McKenna Roberts, and Noah Cottrell.
It’s the summer, and that means The Rock has got to get to work. Starring in his third big budget movie of the year after Jumanji (released late last year in some territories), and Rampage, we now have Skyscraper. Teaming up with his Central Intelligence director Rawson Marshall Thurber. Thurber is venturing into unknown territory here, after whetting his action appetite on Central Intelligence he has throw himself head first into the genre here.
Business man Zhao Long Ji, played by Chin Han, has built the worlds largest Skyscraper. It dwarfs every other building in the world housing shops, living quarters, a multi-storey park, and topped off with a mysterious pearl that acts as the penthouse. Dwayne Johnson’s Will Sawyer is the paraplegic security assessor bought in to assess the building and sing off for the insurers. He is given remote access to all the security features via a tablet device, which is soon stolen from him as mobsters attack the building in an attempt to get access to the pearl. They set fire to the building with Sawyers family inside, leaving him to mount a rescue attempt.
Skyscraper aims for a mix of Jurassic Park and Die Hard, and fails to come close to either. The tone is off from the start. The stakes never feeling real enough to be classed as a full on action movie, and the jokes not funny enough to make the film an action comedy. It doesn’t parody the tropes of disaster movies, more lazily follows them. In fact that’s what sums the film up the most; it’s lazy. It goes through its generic plot, with its generic villains, and its generic set pieces competently enough, but never anything more than competent.
I saw this film in 2D, and whilst I have heard that the 3D version is more vertical inducing, the version I saw looked awful. The look of the film is bright and cheap. The special effects look under cooked. It carries on the theme of this film of things being lazy. They’ve given The Rock a prosthetic leg, and besides using it in a couple of set pieces, little mention is made of it. Where some would have used his accident at the beginning of the film as a psychological block for him to overcome, in Skyscraper it doesn’t matter, because Will Sawyer isn’t a character, he is just The Rock; an all star action hero, a walking bottle of charisma.
Dwayne Johnson is probably the saving grace of the movie, although you kind of feel that they missed what made Die Hard such a classic when he was cast. Bruce Willis is the every man, and the jokes work because he’s actively pissed off at the situation he’s in. Here, Johnson just gets on with the action. He’s charisma pulls him through, but it’s also a lazy performance from him. The Rock is currently the most bankable film stars around, but he needs to stop making this type of disposable action trash.
Neither a great action movie, or a funny comedy. Well, at least not intentionally funny. It’s worth a watch for fans of Dwayne Johnson, who is never less than watchable, but is also one of the laziest, by the numbers movies of the summer.