July 11, 2018 Skyscraper (Movie Review)
We all know summer is the time for big blockbuster films overstuffed with non-stop explosions and burly action heroes. Skyscraper, a film by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber (We’re The Millers 2013, Central Intelligence 2016) starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Moana 2016, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 2017), is just that. If you are willing to suspend all disbelief for ninety minutes, you will be in for an edge-of-your-seat Action Thriller that is more entertaining than it has any right to be. Set for release in the US through Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures on Friday, July 13th, Skyscraper has the potential to be one of the best Action flicks of the summer thanks to its creative and unique action sequences bolstered by a charming cast.
Do not expect a genius plot from Skyscraper, however. Will Sawyer (Johnson), a former FBI agent disabled in the line of duty, his wife Sarah who is a former combat surgeon (Neve Campbell: Scream 1996, House of Cards series), and their charming twin kids, find themselves invited to Hong Kong so that Will can test the security of the world’s largest super-tall structure known as The Pearl.
Of course, some bad guys want what is locked away at the very top of the building inside the mega-secure penthouse occupied by billionaire mastermind Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han: Contagion 2011, The Dark Knight 2008). The bad guys – there are a lot of bad guys – set The Pearl aflame with Sawyer’s family still trapped inside. Sawyer then performs a set of increasingly unbelievable feats involving increasing amounts of duct tape in order to save his family. Physics and logic are defied over and over, but no one wants a plausible Action movie anyway.
The story driving this movie is so rudimentary that the whole thing can fit neatly into the trailer, but really, who cares? There are enough action-packed moments to keep things moving at a solid pace that an intricate plot would seem like overkill. Likable characters and increasingly ludicrous stunts are the film’s foundation, and those are more than enough to keep it consistently entertaining.
Sawyer goes through extreme lengths to thwart both fire and crime bosses in order to keep his family safe, including scale the outside of a building using only duct tape and sheer will, jump through a few turbines, ignore human stamina by climbing a massive crane, and soaring through the air on multiple occasions. Oh, and he also holds up a suspension bridge using only the force of his pecs. Still, it was exciting to see a disabled man with a prosthetic leg as the action hero. The film even goes so far as to suggest that without the prosthetic leg, things may have gone a lot worse. Plus, the comedic beats delivered by Johnson address just how unbelievable some of these feats are, giving the audience a much needed laugh or two after non-stop moments of extreme tension.
Blessedly, Skyscraper does not play into the damsel-in-distress trope. Sarah is whip-smart and shows off plenty of bad-ass skills of her own, and the kids are more than just a plot point. In fact, the majority of the women in Skyscraper play important roles and participate in some pretty cool choreographed fight scenes – the best of which are led by Hannah Quinlivan’s (The Shanghai Job 2017) ultra-cool villain.
With Skyscraper, Thurber has written a love letter to Action movies of the past while still managing to create a film that is unique and able to stand firmly on its own merits. Bordering on Science-Fiction with some of its creative shoot-outs, Skyscraper proves that it is an Action flick for a contemporary audience.
Is it predictable? Yes, but if you are into big, dumb Action movies with insane stunts and a simple plot, then Skyscraper is one that you cannot miss. Make sure you see it on the big screen, too. The ridiculous scale of Johnson leaping from a super crane into a burning building is worth the ticket price alone. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Skyscraper 4 out of 5 stars.