CAST: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Moller
DIRECTOR: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Dwayne The Rock Johnson returns to the big screen for the 17th time this year with “Skyscraper” which is a mixture of “Die Hard”, “Towering Inferno”, and this year’s Gabrielle Union thriller “Breaking In”. Here The Rock portrays Will Sawyer, an ex FBI Hostage Rescue agent who is now heading up a company that assesses security buildings. The newest building he has to inspect is a behemoth in Hong Kong called “The Pearl”, probably about 5 times the size of the Empire State Building. The owner, Zhao, portrayed by Chin Han from “The Dark Knight” has given Will complete access to all the security measures to conduct a thorough review. Will has also been staying in the residential part of the building with his wife Sarah, and their pre-teen twins.
After an assessment of the giant building, Will has to inspect another location off site, and that’s when he learns that he might have gotten tangled up in a hostile takeover of the Pearl Skyscraper. When the giant structure catches on fire, Will has to find his way back into the burning building to try and save his family and thwart the bad guys AND the authorities who think he’s responsible for this chaos.
This movie has a genuinely interesting set up, an incredibly suspenseful second act and some good performances from all the lead characters. The scenes of Will risking his life from the incredibly ridiculous heights is almost vertigo inducing. The danger that his wife and kids are in feels really suspenseful. There’s also the nice amount of humor sprinkled throughout.
This movie has a great Man versus Nature/Technology vibe that works well. It’s the Man versus Terrorist plotline that is it’s weakest part. It has every single action movie trope they could find, including the ultra cool looking hit woman that doesn’t really talk, but kills a lot. There’s also the law enforcement agent that is watching the events unfold from the outside and not sure whether to trust the hero.
This is definitely a movie that you have to watch with your brain turned off, especially during the third act. There are some story points that literally made say out loud “Oh, come on!” in the theater. Luckily the charming performances, especially from Johnson, keep the movie enjoyable.
THE GOOD: The performances, the special effects, all around the visuals are fantastic.
THE BAD: Weak third act, some plot devices that are almost laughable.
OVERALL: Another “Die Hard in a…(blank)” film that almost feels like it’s about 25 years too late, but it’s pure the definition of a Summer Popcorn Movie.
3 out of 5 stars