Out this week in cinemas is the next heavy duty blockbuster from Dwayne Johnson. Skyscraper is a nonstop rollercoaster adventure but is it anything new?
Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber, and Hannah Quinlivan Skyscraper is an action adventure through and through. The film follows ex-FBI agent and amputee Will Sawyer (Johnson) as he tries to save his wife Sarah (Campbell) and their children from the highest burning building in the world. Along the way he’ll deal with betrayal, criminal syndicates, and worst of all gravity. He’ll use everything at his disposable to overcome these insurmountable odds. Even using duct tape to a degree that would make John McClane blush.
Skyscraper is a lot of fun. I thought it was a great day out at the cinema. I want you to understand that before you read further into this review because I have several issues with this film but I still enjoyed it when all was said and done.
I suppose to save time and not draw out the review I’ll say what the one major issue with Skyscraper is. It’s Die Hard. There are fun nods to the classic film from the 80’s and then there just blatant story beats ripped from Die Hard. For example, the villain (Roland Møller) is a soft-spoken and intelligent European criminal with a crack team of baddies that Will takes down one by one. Does that sound familiar? It should because he’s basically a modern-day attempt at Hans Gruber and that I suppose is the biggest flaw of Skyscraper. It’s attempting to be a modern-day Die Hard. Everything is given that modern-day sheen and unfortunately because of the cleanliness and sterile environment of the building where the majority of the action is in the film I felt there was a sense of detachment.
There’s also a major problem with the predictability of the film. For example, I love foreshadowing when it’s subtle and well laid out it can create a wonderful sense of continuity. In Skyscraper, the overuse and amateurish implementation of foreshadowing meant that by the end of the first act of the film you could tell where the film would end in its third act.
For all of this though I still enjoyed this film and that’s because of how director Rawson Marshall Thurber has created such a rapport with his leading man Dwayne Johnson. The two know how to get the best out of each other having previously worked together on Central Intelligence a film that Johnson was brilliant in. Not only that the camera loves Johnson as he looks every bit the hero in this film jumping from impossible heights to utilising every kind of possible weapon available to him (save for guns because he doesn’t like them).
Not to be left in the dust his wife Sarah (Campbell) has some standout scenes showing she’s not the damsel in distress. What was a particular chuckle moment for me was when Campbell appears on screen and I went oh hey it’s Neve Campbell what’s she been doing? It was a pleasant surprise to learn she actually didn’t leave all the action to the boys.
Skyscraper is a lot of fun, a true Summer blockbuster. It tries to climb to those lofty heights established by the ultimate building siege adventure Die Hard and does it succeed? No, but with Dwayne Johnson in top form, you’ll still enjoy the ride.