As I headed into Skyscraper at my local cinema, I tweeted something about disengaging my brain for a couple of hours, fully open to the prospect of some completely ridiculous action, courtesy of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. That’s exactly what I ended up with, and I actually really enjoyed it all too.
The movie opens 10 years ago, with FBI agent Will Sawyer (Johnson) and his team attending a domestic hostage situation which goes badly wrong. Back in the present, Will is now an amputee and married to the military nurse that cared for him during that incident (Neve Campbell). They’ve got 2 young kids and the whole family is in Hong Kong where Will has been hired as security consultant for The Pearl, a new state-of-the-art skyscraper and the tallest building in the world. A news reel montage fires off lots of impressive facts and figures about the building, hardly giving you time to digest or even question them. Let’s just say, it cost billions of dollars, looks incredibly futuristic (and a bit silly) and is a scientific wonder of the world. Before The Pearl opens up its doors for people to live and work in though, Will needs to sign off on fire safety and security.
We’re shown Will putting on his false leg, letting us know how that all works in preparation for later scenes in the movie. Will then fixes his wife’s phone before he rushes out of the door and ushers a line so obviously important to the movie it’s actually annoyingly distracting. So important is this piece of information, he actually uses two variations of it within minutes of each other too – “Remember, you can fix 90% of problems by just turning it off and on again…”. Like I say, just disengage your brain, don’t worry about it, and you’ll be fine.
If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll have gathered that Wills family are the only residents in The Pearl, with the buildings owner and his team way up top in the penthouse. You’ll have gathered that this is attempting to be a Die Hard / Towering Inferno crossover, and that there are bad guys involved. You’ll no doubt have also seen the famous leap from a crane by Dwayne Johnsons character into the burning skyscraper. This is where the movie really kicks into action.
Now, I was watching this in 3D, so I’m not sure if it will have quite the same effect on a TV screen at home, but I was literally on the edge of my seat whenever Will was either dangling or jumping 96 floors in the air (which is a lot), while a Hong Kong crowd gasps and cheers on the streets below. The action and peril is relentless, repeatedly moving Will and his family from one dangerous set piece to another. While not quite as funny or charming as he is in his other movies, Skyscraper is still all about Dwayne Johnson though, and all other characters come out of this pretty short changed. Neve Campbell gets a couple of chances to kick some ass, but otherwise she’s pretty underused. The bad guys aren’t particularly effective, or memorable, neither are the police team down on the ground.
It’s predictable and it’s ridiculous. But I absolutely loved it.