Dwayne Johnson is one of Hollywood’s hardest working actors. In the past year he has starred in the blockbusters, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Rampage”. I am sure he hopes that his latest, “Skyscraper” rakes in the same kind of money those previous films did. The action star also has 6 other films in various stages of production, which is why he seems to be performing on auto-pilot here. Although “Skyscraper” is one of the few tentpole films being released this season that isn’t a sequel or part of a cinematic universe, that doesn’t mean it’s the most original. Borrowing from such classics as, “Die Hard”, “The Poseidon Adventure” and “The Towering Inferno”, there is hardly anything here that we haven’t seen before. “Die Hard” clearly has the biggest influence, but “Skyscraper” doesn’t hold a candle to that 30-year-old classic.
“Skyscraper” opens with a special forces team, led by FBI Agent Will Sawyer (Johnson) on a mission that goes terribly wrong and Sawyer loses his leg. Cut to a decade later, the former agent is now married to Sarah (Neve Campbell) the military doctor that saved him and they have two beautiful children. When Sawyer is offered a security analysis job at the tallest building in the world, located in Hong Kong, he brings along his family.
The state-of-the-art building which houses a mall, condominium, and a few insane attractions was built by Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han). Unfortunately, the what is supposed to be the safest building in the world, turns out to be a deathtrap when a team of bad guys make their way inside to steal something from Long Ji. Caught in the middle of everything is the Sawyer family. With Sarah and the kids trapped inside the burning building, Will must find a way to save the ones he loves.
Admittedly, “Skyscraper” isn’t a boring film. There is enough action going on to keep audiences at least mildly entertained. Even when Johnson seems like is going through the motions, he still has that charm that makes his so likable. One of the biggest issues I had with “Skyscraper” is the skyscraper itself. It just never felt like a real place to me. The design was so ridiculous looking and never felt as grand as it should have. The villains were completely generic. If you are going to rip-off Die Hard, at least rip off the villain in that movie too. Speaking of bad guys. As soon as we meet various characters, we can tell that very second which ones are going to be working for bad guys.
One of the most questionable decisions made with “Skyscraper” was the selection of Rawson Marshall Thurber as both writer and director. This is the guy who gave us “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” and the terribly unfunny “Central Intelligence” that also starred Johnson. Action films aren’t what he does best and barely succeeds at comedy. There is a running joke about duct tape in “Skyscraper” that isn’t the least bit funny.
There is little doubt that “Skyscraper” will make a ton of cash worldwide and it has the type of title that I can see becoming a franchise. I am just not all that keen on a “Skyscraper 2: Skyscraping Harder”.
By: Marc Ferman