Skyscraper Review: Rockin' Relief for High AnxietyJul 12, 2018
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Written by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Pablo Schreiber, Noah Taylor, McKenna Roberts, Byron Mann
All Photos Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Somewhere out there is a fan of Dwayne Johnson who has been waiting for that breakthrough performance. That fan believes that somewhere inside the former football and wrestling star who went by the name “The Rock” is a finely-tuned, nuanced performance that will forever cement his place in movie history up there with DeNiro and Pacino. Maybe even Tom Hanks.
Skyscraper ain’t that movie…but it sure is a whole lot of fun!
A fellow critic pal of mine called it a “dumpster fire.” She might be right. But here’s the thing: Johnson is one of the few actors around who could make a dumpster fire fun to watch, probably even to the point where someone in Hollywood would be giddy to greenlight Dumpster Fire 2: Trash Never Sleeps.
Everything about Skyscraper is simple. Set in Hong Kong, Will Sawyer (Johnson, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, The Fate of the Furious) is a former FBI hostage rescue agent. He lost his leg and his will to fight (oops, unintentional pun #1) during a rescue gone wrong and is now trying to build a career as a security consultant. His small firm, consisting of himself working out of his garage, is hired to do a final security check for the world’s tallest skyscraper: The Pearl, 225 stories of high-tech marvels. Naturally, terrorists are going to take over the building, sabotage all of the fail-safe safety features, set the building on fire (tip o’ the hat to Milton from Office Space!), and frame Sawyer for all of it.
Oh. One other small detail: Sawyer’s family is trapped on the floors just above the inferno and doomed if he doesn’t find a way to get back into the locked down building and save the day.
This is not a movie about logic. This is not a movie that even adheres to the laws of physics, chemistry, or biology. There is so much about this movie that makes no sense whatsoever. But it’s still great fun to watch. Johnson does what we have come to expect Johnson to do: punch and take punches, jump, climb, dodge, and flex his way to overcome any and every obstacle set in his path. Neve Campbell (Scream, House of Cards) is on board as Sarah Sawyer, a former Navy doctor who can hold her own against the kung fu terrorist bad guys. Roland Møller (Atomic Blonde, The Commuter) is the chief bad guy. McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell are the Sawyer kids. Everybody seems enthusiastic about the script and the stunts, and the computer graphics work is substantial enough to make you believe The Pearl and all of the high wire stunts Johnson pulls off are real and death-defying.
Bottom line: keep your expectations in check and enjoy a movie where stuff is definitely gonna blow up and burn.