Movie Review: Skyscraper
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s latest feature, Skyscraper, premiered in theaters over the weekend. It was written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, who previously collaborated with Johnson on the comedy Central Intelligence. The story follows a former FBI agent who must rescue his family when the building they’re staying in, which happens to be the tallest building in the world, is set on fire by terrorists. The film, of course, stars Johnson as the lead character, Will Sawyer, and Neve Campbell as his wife, Sarah Sawyer. The film’s cast also includes Chin Han, Roland Møller, Pablo Schreiber, Byron Mann, Noah Cottrell, and McKenna Roberts.
The movie begins with an opening scene ten years prior that explains Will Sawyer’s previous experience in the FBI and how he became an amputee. The story then moves to present day in Hong Kong, where Zhao Long Ji (Han) has constructed the tallest building in the world. The bottom portions of the building are already functional with shopping and dining areas, but the upper residential areas are waiting for approval on security measures. Will Sawyer has been hired to inspect all of the systems for the building, and he and his family are allowed to stay in the residential area while he assesses it. While Sawyer is headed to the offsite security center, though, a group sets fire to the building with Sawyer’s family still inside. This sets Sawyer on a journey to rescue his family before it’s too late.
There are so many reviewers out there who are comparing Skyscraper to such films as Die Hard and The Towering Inferno, and it is a worthy comparison. It feels like a terrible 90’s action movie that happens to be made in 2018. I will say that a lot of the action sequences look good, and the views from these terrifying heights are enough to make anyone feel a little sick. However, I do not actually believe that can make up for the plethora of cliches and predictable moments in this film. They have so many close-up shots and musical cues to denote the identity of the villains, which is completely unnecessary since it is not difficult to figure out. The script is not great, and the villains might as well be twirling mustaches for the majority of the film. Also, there is absolutely no way that even The Rock could survive some of these outlandish jumps and stunts.
Despite the story beats and general idea of the movie, I will admit that it is fairly well cast. If you are going to make a ridiculously cliched action film, then you should at least have Dwayne Johnson as the lead. He carries this film, as we expected, and he at least makes his death defying stunts enjoyable to watch. Also, Neve Campbell does an excellent job with what she is given. Her character’s abilities are quite frankly some of the most believable things about this movie with her background in the armed forces, and she has a couple of fight sequences that were enjoyable. I thought that Chin Han gave a good performance as the creator of this monstrous building, and I found the police force cast to be entertaining.
At the end of the day, it should come as no surprise that Skyscraper is full of big, dumb fun. It does have a certain sense of nostalgia to the action movies of the 90’s, which I know some will appreciate. It is also a showcase of how The Rock and duct tape can apparently fix anything. I would recommend that if you make a trip to the theater for this one that you suspend all notions of reality, and if you have a fear of heights, then you might need to turn away for a few of the sequences. I cannot seriously recommend this one for a watch in theaters, but if you love ridiculous summer action movies, which I’m sure some of you do, then Skyscraper is the watch for you.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.