Dan's Review: "Skyscraper" borrows from the past
Jul 13, 2018 05:25PM
● By Dan Metcalf
Dwayne Johnson in Skyscraper- © 2018 Universal Pictures.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of gun violence and action, and for brief strong language.
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Pablo Schreiber, Noah Taylor, Hannah Quinlivan, Matt O'Leary, Byron Mann, McKenna Roberts, Noah Cottrell, Kevin Rankin, Adrian Holmes, Tzi Ma.
Written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber.
I have often complained about the lack of originality in a majority of contemporary major films. Sequels, prequels, reboots, “re-imaginings,” and rip-offs are the norm for most studios, where a sure buck is much better than a little risk. It’s no different for Skyscraper, Dwayne (formerly, “The Rock”) Johnson’s latest action flick, which seems more than a little derivative.
Johnson stars as Will Sawyer a former FBI Hostage Crisis team leader who lost his leg during a raid 10 years prior. After marrying his doctor Sarah (Neve Campbell) and 2 kids later, Sawyer is now the head of a small private security firm. His big break is the analysis of “The Pearl” the tallest building in the world with what looks like a giant tennis ball on top - located in downtown Hong Kong. Sawyer got the gig from one of his old FBI buddies (Pablo Schreiber), who works for Zhao (Chin Han), the owner/develop of the superstructure. One perk of the gig is Sawyer being able to bring Sarah and the kids (McKenna Roberts, Noah Cottrell) to stay in the upper part of the tower, yet to be opened to the public pending security clearance. After completing his security duties, a group of terrorists/bad guys led by Kores Botha (Roland Møller) mug Sawyer as he visits the tower’s remote operations facility. Botha then sets fire to the building, trapping Zhao and Sawyer’s family above the flames. Meanwhile, Botha’s top assassin Xia (Hannah Quinlivan) breaks into the operation enter and shuts down the fire countermeasures inside the tower. Sawyer must scale a large crane, leap into the building, fight off bad guys, avoid being burned to death and reach the top floors to save his family and give the bad guys what’s coming to them before the building burns to the ground.
If you read the above synopsis and it seems a lot like Skyscraper is a mash-up of the original Die Hard and The Towering Inferno, you’d be right. There are action flick clichés aplenty, from the lone wolf cop/hero to the “Eurotrash” bad guy with a team of nerds to the standard outrunning of explosions and flames.
Despite the derivatives, Skyscraper is often exciting and a little fun, even if you know what’s coming next. Dwayne Johnson has carved out a niche as an action hero in these kinds of special effects-driven absurdities, and if you enjoy his personality, muscles and screen presence Skyscraper is adequate for a little summer escapism.
Just don’t look down too much.