Dwayne Johnson has been on a streak lately of headlining big action, special-effects blockbusters. Adding to that is Skyscraper, a film that desperately wants to be his Die Hard. While it may not have equated to success, the film could have been called Rock Hard. Johnson is one of the most successful stars as of late but can he keep it up?
Skyscraper is ludicrous in a mostly acceptably fun way. One can wish that the re-teaming of director Rawson Marshall Thurber and Johnson would have resulted in a slightly more humorous action film like their previous Central Intelligence. For while Skyscraper is dumb fun, it never tries to be. Instead, the film adopts a pretty serious tone that only accentuates how silly the premise is.
The film follows Will Sawyer a former FBI hostage team lead who, after losing his leg from a bad call involving a hostage situation, becomes the security consultant for the world's largest building. That building is the Pearl and is located in Hong Kong to help increase the film's overseas marketability. All hell breaks loose when a terrorist group sets the building on fire in order to blackmail the mastermind behind it and Sawyer's family gets trapped inside the towering inferno.
The film may be one of the few blockbusters this summer that is not a remake, sequel, prequel or based on some existing thing. That is all well and good but the film from the opening moments to the finale feels very familiar. The screenplay could be taught in schools due to how formulaic it is, including its use of a kid with asthma to ratchet up the tension.
Johnson, luckily, is a charming action star. He is the closest thing this generation has to a Schwarzenegger. Watching him kick butt, jump from a crane into a burning building and save the day goes down easy even when physics and logic get thrown out the window. Speaking of that crane jumping scene, it is the highlight here. The special effect sells the height and danger of the scene even if we know he will make it.
Had the screenplay been punched up with some witty one-liners or a more interesting villain, Skyscraper could have been a real surprise. As it is it is a passable action film, the kind of film I will no doubt see again on TV on a lazy afternoon.