Director – Rawson Marshall Thurber
Solid – Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland M?ller
Score – 3/5
A few days prior to the release of Skyscraper, Dwayne Johnson released a tweet in which he announced that while he respects everyone’s thoughts and opinions about the film – good or bad – the main one he values the most was of an impaired critic. The Rock and roll proceeded to share a link of her review, plus a picture of the critic, sitting down in a wheelchair. And this, dear readers, is the reason why Dwayne ‘The Rock and roll’ Johnson makes the big bucks.
Furthermore to making more money to do something in and produce his movies than any celeb alive, The Rock and roll has also persuaded studios to pay him thousands to market the damn things, because – think about it – only The Rock can have made Skyscraper, a film in which he ostensibly assumes a kilometre-tall building (and wins), an empowering account about overcoming impairment.
In Skyscraper, Dwayne Johnson is conserving his family after being framed for a criminal offense he didn’t commit!
In fairness, though, he really does wear a prosthetic knee in the film – but seldom does it element in the story, or even establish his personality beyond the strange limp or two. In fact, Skyscraper has some of the nuttiest moments of any Rock movie, which is including the muscle-flex-plaster-break from Furious 7, getting flipped off by a giant gorilla in Rampage, and racing a nuclear missile in Fate of the Furious.
He gets lots of possibility to do his part of Skyscraper, including but not limited to showing his children a deviation of his ‘Daddy’s gotta go to work’ line, rescuing a better half in peril, and breaking that million-dollar smile – which, if you’ve been on the ride long enough, you’d know are the main ingredients of the Dwayne Johnson movie.
The Rock’s earning his paycheck in that one.
This time around, The Rock and roll and his special set of skills are required in Hong Kong – not since it makes box office sense, but just because a rich Chinese billionaire has already established his pet job hijacked by terrorists. I’ve nothing not used to add to my disdain for Hollywood studios pandering to the Chinese market, but with that said, this is one of the least obnoxious types of it.
Sure, the movie’s set in Hong Kong and has almost the same range of Asian celebrities as the recent Sylvester Stallone film Get away from Plan 2, but it feels organic somehow. Or maybe we’re finally used to seeing this happen and the studios’ wicked plan is succeeding – just like how the Rock has brainwashed us into planning on nothing but serviceable mediocrity from him. In any event, Skyscraper means pleasant time at the films – it’s noisy, it’s dumb along with the Rock wears a tee shirt in it and not his trademark Under Armor, which, is as monumental a move as the idea of Salman Khan removing his bracelet.
If the 96th floor of the Pearl – that’s what they’re inexplicably phoning the super-futuristic skyscraper – is set on fire by some obscure Eastern Western types, The Rock and roll must save his family – they’re inconveniently the tower’s only residents – from roasty doom. So he does what you’ve observed in the trailers and nearly all the marketing materials: he jumps off a crane and in to the fiery inferno like he’s some kind of superhero.
This and a couple of other actions displays are especially well done, and director Rawson Marshall Thurber – who, oddly enough is one of the few studio room filmmakers who creates his own scripts – milks these scenes for everyone they’re worth, effectively making the audience be anxious about The Rock’s basic safety. That’s quite the achievement, if you ask me.
So we gasp in dread as The Rock and roll scales the exterior of the building not once, but twice, armed with only his biceps and a winning attitude. These scenes are the showcase of the film, which goes too fast to let failure sink in. Incidentally, Skyscraper has been taken by the Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Elswit, who’s no stranger to filming huge celebrities clinging onto huge structures – he’s the person behind the breathtaking IMAX photography in Objective: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. And while Skyscraper is fun to look at, it can’t help but feel very heavy on the green display screen, whereas Ghost Process prided itself on the useful stunts.
Dwayne Johnson’s crane leap, while totally bonkers, is fun to watch.
It is also disappointingly derivative. It borrows the hubris of the Towering Inferno, the Western european villain from Pass away Hard, and the family in peril from Johnson’s own Fast & Furious films.
It type of makes sense for Johnson to make such a blatant Pass away Hard rip-off at this stage in his career. He is to our generation what Bruce Willis was to his. But unlike Willis, who by most accounts – usually Kevin Smith’s – is a pain in the throat to work with and has shot his own career in the feet, Johnson’s reputation as a professional and universally beloved figure will hopefully help him transition into more diversified roles as he matures. And we’ll see this change soon, in reality, when he cameos in his next development, Fighting with my Family. For the time being, let him enjoy being an action superstar – he certainly should get it.