If you take Die Hard, and cross it with The Towering Inferno, and add the obvious advancements in CGI and tech, you get Skyscraper. Put Dwayne Johnson in it, and you have a big implausibly-plotted summer popcorn movie.
If you can get past the very needed suspension of disbelief in some of the tech involved in Skyscraper, then you’ll have a fun time with this.
A father goes to extreme lengths to save his family from a burning skyscraper.
Dwayne Johnson plays Will Sawyer, an ex-FBI hostage extraction agent who is hired by Zhao Long Ji, a super wealthy business magnate, to do a security assessment of this building, the tallest in the world. So big, it has a whole park in the middle floors. Like, a Central Park kind of park. The building is 220 stories. It’s crazy. It’s basically a small city all in one building.
Some mildly convoluted plot takes place about the owner of the skyscraper (Zhao Long Ji) owing money and some people not wanting the building to be successful, or something. A fire starts in the building on the 96th floor, and of course, Will Sawyer’s family is residing in the building, so he must go and get them out.
Skyscraper is definitely a kind of throwback to the 80’s action disaster movies. There is a lot of homage to Die Hard, and there are obvious similarities to the 70’s disaster flick, The Towering Inferno. I mean, it IS a super skyscraper on fire, right?
There is a lot of fun, nail-biting action/thrills here. The stunt guys got a LOT of stuff to do. However, writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Central Intelligence, We’re The Millers) forces us to suspend our disbelief in a LOT of the technology that is supposed to keep this massive building working, as well as certain people’s ability to make it function. Basically, you assume the operating system that runs this crazy skyscraper is user friendly enough that anyone with moderate intelligence can run it. Whatever.
Let’s face it, though, we know these kinds of movies aren’t always meant to be completely logical or even remotely realistic. As is often the case, if you can let go of such trivial matters as logic and/or basic physics, Skyscraper will surely entertain.
Even though some of the villains here are running a bit thin on character development, they are clearly defined as ‘bad guys’ so you never really have to bother wondering what they’re motivation is.
I can say, however, that the cast is solid, and it’s great to see Neve Campbell in a big movie again. She plays the wife to Johnsons’ Will Sawyer. Thankfully, she is given more than the usual ‘damsel in distress’ role that so many women actors got in the 80’s films like this. Campbell plays a military surgeon with training so she gets to show off some skills here.
With a cast that includes the likes of Pablo Schreiber, Noah Taylor, Kevin Rankin, Roland Moller, and Tzi Ma, you can’t go wrong in that respect.
As a comparison to another Dwayne Johnson movie, when San Andreas came out, the first reaction was, “Oh, great, another big dumb, cheesey disaster flick”. But that script turned out to be surprisingly entertaining, and the characters impressively three-dimensional. And that saved that movie, for sure. Skyscraper, on the other hand, doesn’t quite have the same level of character development, and it suffers for it. It simply isn’t quite as impactful. Granted, maybe other people didn’t like San Andreas, but then, if you didn’t like that, you won’t like this, either. I would compare it to Rampage, too, but hey, Rampage had giant monsters in it, so Rampage is better. Just sayin’.
Skyscraper does, however, pay off in eye-popping visuals with this building, and the crazy stunts and action. Keep in mind, the character Johnson plays also only has one leg. His left leg is a prosthetic. It definitely allows for some harrowing, and sometimes amusing, moments. Surely you’ll laugh occasionally, and probably roll you eyes once or twice, too.
Skyscraper is surely in the category of films that you just turn off your brain and let things happen without complaining every time something occurs that ‘simply isn’t possible’. If you can do that, this will be a hoot. In that context, I can give Skyscraper three (and a little) kittenhands. Not one of Johnson’s strongest films, but still an entertaining watch.
~ Neil T Weakley, your average movie-goer, figuring this will still make money because anything with Dwayne Johnson in it makes money. You can literally take that guy to the bank. And give him your money. Just hand it to him.You’ll hardly notice with all the charisma washing over you.