By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
The new Dwayne Johnson vehicle is certainly an homage to action films like Die Hard and disaster movies like The Towering Inferno, and the filmmakers are not ashamed about this at all. In fact, they embrace this whole-heartedly. Writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber celebrates and honors his inspirations. but utilizes a style of his own and keeps the entire affair fun, thrilling, and modern. The film obviously employs all the advances in modern filmmaking mostly well, and even has fun with otherwise overused story elements. Skyscraper is definitely not original, nor is it exceptional, but is a guaranteed good time at the theater.Dwayne Johnson stars as Will Sawyer, an ex-FBI agent who was injured in the line of duty. Having lived as a lower leg amputee for a while, Will now has his own advanced security business for large buildings. Having secured a juicy security contract for a highly advanced skyscraper building in Hong Kong, things are looking better for him and his wife andd children (Neve Campbell, McKenna Roberts, Noah Cottrell).
After getting the security set up for the building names “The Pearl,” Will moves in his family with him before making tje final arrangements with building owner Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han). On the very day, a group of terrorists secretly enter the building and take over by hacking into the security system. The terrorist leader Kores Botha (Roland Møller) has his team shutdown the entire fire safety system and attempts to burn the entire building down. Caught away from the building, Will must race against time and the fire to rescue his family members who are trapped in the building.
Though the movie lacks the more realistic and practical effects that Die Hard has, Rawson Marshall Thurber and his crew still manage to make Skyscraper work despite the more obvious green screen and CGI used. The solid cinematography by Robert Elswitt and the great editing by Michael Sale and Julian Clarke make everything look pretty good and more credible than it probably should. As far as the writing is concerned, the film as its mix of compelling and silly, ridiculous moments. However, there is a gleeful and enjoyable self-awareness of it all. I enjoyed most of the goofy ridiculousness, but tbe film is still guilty of some eye-roll inducing beats.
Keeping things on a more even keel, the cast members all deliver mostly earnest performances, but the villains do have their scenery-munching scenes as well. Dwayne Johnson certainly brings much charisma and sincerity to his lead role and this alone helps make even the goofiest scenes more believable. Roland Møller brings a steely and reserved intensity to his role as the chief antagonist. Neve Campbell exudes practical toughness and strength as Sarah, Will’s wife and mother to their children. The film also stars Chin Han, Pablo Schreiber, Noah Taylor, Hannah Quinlivan, Byron Mann, McKenna Roberts, and Noah Cottrell. All of whom perform solidly .
And as far as Die Hard knock-offs go, there are definitely worse, but there probably are better. Still, Skyscraper is one of those unoriginal movies that is enjoyable nevertheless. The film has enough of its own personality and charms to make it just a little bit different. It might be the same recipe, but a different chef has taken some liberties with it and added slightly different ingredients. It isn’t necessarily as delicious as the original dish, but it’s still quite tasty.