PG-13: Sequences of gun violence and action, and for brief strong language
Universal Pictures, Legendary Pictures
1 Hr and 42 Minutes
Writer/Dir: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber
Why does it feel like every three months a new Dwayne Johnson movie comes out? I could’ve sworn “Rampage” came out just yesterday. If I’m not seeing Johnson on a big screen it’s on TV with his show “Ballers” or a commercial. You just can’t escape Dwayne Johnson. Now, after surviving a jungle and three giant monsters, Johnson faces his biggest challenge yet: a skyscraper.
You’ve seen “Die Hard” now get ready for Rock Hard…
Get ready for “Skyscraper”, a movie that openly asks its audience to turn their brain off and enjoy the ride… a rather stupid ride.
FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in Hong Kong he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he’s been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family who are trapped inside the building…above the fire line.
Dwayne Johnson knows how to command a screen no matter what movie he’s in. Besides his presence, the characters he plays are written in ways that the audience can easily admire. We liked him in “Central Intelligence” because his character used to be a fat kid who got bullied. We liked him in “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” because he was practically a 16-year-old kid in the body of Johnson. We liked him in “Rampage” because of his bond with his gorilla. Here, you like Johnson’s character, Sawyer, because he’s a rescue op who became handicapped. The film opens pretty strong where you see the rescue op mission go wrong and how he lost his leg and met his soon-to-be wife.
Before walking into “Skyscraper” one must master the art of being brain dead. This is a movie that wants you to valet park your brain at door and make sure it’s not turned on for the entire duration of the film. You saw the trailer. You saw the poster. You knew what you were getting into. You better suspend your disbelief or the movie will forcibly suspend it for you.
Although I stated how likable Johnson’s characters are, including Sawyer, what he heavily lacks in this is the charisma and charm that makes you put your butt in the seat in the first place. Sawyer is vulnerable to where his ass is usually handed to him, yet he always makes it through without a single scratch. He is punched, kicked, shot, and takes all the damage imaginable, but this man is nearly indestructible. Just because Johnson’s nickname is The Rock doesn’t mean he literally has to be a rock! Here, Johnson is not making quips or zingers, but instead is going through the motions as a straight-faced action hero with one goal in mind.
Ironically, it is disappointing because this is written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber who is known for his comedies such as “Central Intelligence”, “Dodgeball”, and “We’re the Millers”. Unlike the majority of his work, Thurber’s “Skyscraper” is just an action film. The film has all the potential to be as fun as it is brainless, but the story is so convoluted that you often don’t understand what exactly is going on.
At parts it feels like you’re watching two seperate movies where one is focused on Sawyer trying to find his family and the other is on the gangsters’ plot to take down the rich entrepreneur who created the skyscraper. The setup resembles “Die Hard” so much, but Thurber attempts to have the villains be more intricate with their plans than simplistic. AND YET IT IS STILL STUPID! If you are going to be a brainless action movie, everything needs to be simplistic because by the time I turn on my brain, I’m going to dissect all of the idiocracies that the film itself contains. At a certain point, the film crosses over from stupid to (pardon my French) retarded.
Right after Sawyer jumps from that crane, “Skyscraper” becomes completely brain dead. The action choreography is fine and clear to see, but it’s mostly sporadic. The sequences where Sawyer and his family are defying death are bafflingly dumb. You think “Furious 7” defied the laws of physics by having a car fly from one building to another? Believe me, Will Sawyer and his family are all practically immortal because somehow they all manage to defy death. I hate CinemaSins but I would love to see a doctor come in and count the many ways Sawyer and his family would be dead. And having Sawyer say, “this is stupid” before he holds onto the outside window of the skyscraper with DUCT TAPE does not justify just how moronic the movie is. And – get this – as stupid as it is, it’s not fun. You don’t have Johnson’s charisma present or an ample amount of sequences of him kicking ass. You’re just seeing him doing the dumbest of actions to save his family when in reality he wouldn’t be alive.
Shoot, even the prosthetic leg isn’t used as a means for an arc or an emotional resonance to this character, but as a deus ex machina. That fake leg is able to do everything from hanging him up from a building to holding a closing corridor. It’s not even that metallic, but that prosthetic leg is able to work wonders. I swear this would’ve been better off as a Cliff Hanger film adaptation, and then and only then would I have bought into this movie’s idiocracy. LOOK AT THAT POSTER! TELL ME IT DOESN’T REMIND YOU OF THE “BETWEEN THE LIONS” CLIFF HANGER SKITS!
Lacking the charismatic charm of Dwayne Johnson and the simplicity of the story to match it’s stupidity, “Skyscraper” is a mindless action thriller that manages to be an entertaining fun time if your IQ is below 60.
Rating: 1.5/5 | 36%
Super Scene: Super Dwayne Jump