Friday, July 13, 2018

Skyscraper - Review


The word ridiculous may as well be forever associated with Dwayne Johnson and his chosen projects. Of course, this could mean a variety of good or bad things for the premise, the look, the action itself, or the whole idea in general. Skyscraper falls into the ridiculous in a bad way column as it frequently plays around in increasingly unbelievable and laughable scenarios that only get more unreasonable when you apply even a little logic, the true definition of shutting your brain off for a little under two hours.

Former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) now assesses security for skyscrapers. He's on assignment in China when 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, which is trapped inside the building, above the fire line.

Masquerading as a bonkers action film, Skyscraper is more science fiction than anything. The idea of highly advanced and remarkably safe technology suddenly failing is not a new concept, even if a building might be a new setting for such an inciting incident. Unfortunately for everyone involved, a pretty fantastic action film exists set within a skyscraper, and this isn’t it. As if the entire premise wasn’t similar enough to Die Hard, visual cues and homages are littered throughout the runtime of this knockoff. The plot functions exactly how you’d imagine, complete with scenario after scenario that the film wants to be dangerous, even though the audience knows the film doesn’t possess the gall to follow through. 

In lieu of commenting again, like many other critics as well, about the standard role that Dwayne Johnson always plays, no matter the film, it must be said that he at least does it well. Sure there isn’t much outside the action hero typecast that has been bestowed upon perhaps the biggest movie star working in Hollywood, but at least Johnson can be charming while doing it. Plus, he gets to save his family from a disaster this time and that hasn’t been done since San Andreas just three short years ago.

Surprisingly enough, there are some slightly exciting set pieces, even if they are a little redundant in their use of height as the driving force behind the tension. One scene involving fun house style mirrors is particularly enjoyable, if not a little clever even. However, a film can only milk the vertigo it instills in an audience from the height involved so much before it starts to just make them sick. Each time The Rock climbs around the edge of the titular Skyscraper and in turn breaks numerous laws of physics, it loses a little bit of the tension. If he didn’t fall before, he won’t fall this time, and the adventure to the penthouse of this 220-story tower will continue in some way. 

Overall, Skyscraper is not the complete disaster it looked to be from the start, though only by the slimmest margins. It’s a big, dumb, summer blockbuster that’s a decent way to kill two hours, and immediately leave your mind as you leave the theater. It is completely unmemorable, and it wouldn’t be the least bit shocking to see many confuse this and the Rock’s other 2018 explosion extravaganza Rampage once the year is draws to a close.