By Jack Dignan
Originally Published on Salty Popcorn
It’s reached the point in Dwayne Douglas Johnson’s career where I don’t even see the point in properly reviewing his movies anymore. With recent hits such as RAMPAGE, JUMANJI, FATE OF THE FURIOUS and SAN ANDREAS, there’s one thing connecting them all, and that is that I’ve literally written the exact same review about all of them. So going into SKYSCRAPER, I felt confident in how I’d word this. I mean, I’ve already written my review at least five times over. And yet every time, The Rock still manages to pull me in and I have an absolute blast.
Have you seen DIE HARD? Good. What about TOWERING INFERNO? Great. And how about the last five years of The Rock’s filmography? Perfect. Mix them all together and you have SKYSCRAPER, a film so ridiculously bonkers and flat out insane that you need to see it to believe it. Will Sawyer (Johnson) is a paraplegic who lost his leg after a bomb extraction gone wrong. But through his recovery he met the love of his life, Sarah (Neve Campbell), and started up a security company. This homemade business brings him to Hong Kong, the capital of put-us-in-your-movie-and-make-$1-billion-dollars-at-the-box-office, where the world’s tallest building has recently finished construction.
Sawyer and his family are to stay in the towering skyscraper while he completes a security check of the entire residential area of the building. It seems to be going well, with everything in order, until several floors catch fire and the security systems shut down. What initially seems like a fire hazard gone wrong is discovered to be a villainous plot aimed against head of the company, Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han). With his family trapped inside a slowly crumbling building, it’s up to one man to save the day, and that man is, of course, The Rock.
Grab a large popcorn and strap in for an off the charts 109 minute fling into insanity, where every action set piece attempts to out-meme the one that came before. If you’ve been following the film’s marketing, you’ll no doubt be aware of the inhuman leap The Rock makes to get into the building early on in the movie. Believe it or not, but that’s the least ridiculous thing this movie has in store for you, although that’s partially thanks to a last-minute CGI alteration to make that a more believable leap.
There’s so much here to spoil, and yet at the same time, literally nothing. Plot wise, you’ve not only seen this before, but even if this is the first movie you’ve ever seen, you’ll no doubt be able to guess how it ends. It follows a formulaic, highly derivative plot that’s light on thrills, but heavy on the fun-factor. A chase sequence/hostage scenario on one the top floors during the finale is a major standout. You know exactly how it’s all going to go, yet writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber still tries to throw every curveball at you that he can. There’s a moment so bat-shit insane and out of literally nowhere that I can’t think about it without bursting into hysterical laughter.
Thurber’s skills as a director work well enough for what this film is going for, but there’s nothing here to really blow you away. He doesn’t elevate his sub-par script to new heights, nor allow you to really feel the scope of the action (the “tallest building in the world” feels more like an advertising hook than a relevant story element, as they do literally nothing here that can’t be done in, say, a ten story building), but he grasps tone perfectly. He understands what this film is and what it’s going for, and hey, you genuinely care for these characters.
If you went up to anybody on this planet, sane or otherwise, and told them that this Thursday there’s a movie coming out featuring The Rock wrapping duck tape around his hands and crawling along the outside of a building Spider-Man style, there’s no humanly way they’ll say they aren’t’ excited for it. So guess what? There is a movie coming out this Thursday that does exactly that. And guess what? You already know you’re going to see it. It’s the second best movie of the year behind RAMPAGE. I’m so excited to double feature them on Blu-Ray.
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