Oh I forgot – it’s the Summer, there’s going to be quite a few “blockbusters” coming our way to help us cope with the holidays, some will be sillier than others I dare say, but they are going to have to go a long way to “out-silly” Skyscraper. This is another Dwayne Johnson action adventure, that should have been more substantial than his previous outing Rampage, yet despite what they call a “high concept” idea, nothing here feels real or grounded.
Johnson is an ex FBI agent that hangs his badge up after a botched hostage situation ends horrifically, resulting in the loss of one of his legs. It’s a dark opening scene and actually showed promise, and I was hoping that the rest of the screenplay would lean in that direction. 10 years later and Johnson has married the surgeon that saved him, or something, and they have two lovely kids and he’s reinvented himself as a building security inspector. The Johnson’s are all over in Hong Kong at the opening of the world tallest building, that’s about to get taken over by a covert group of violent crime syndicates searching for a plot device hidden by the buildings creator, that made me laugh like an immature 12 year old when it finally made an appearance.
Writer and director Rawson Marshall Furber gets the action going pretty quickly, but everything is so hopelessly foreshadowed and explained to us, that all you are left with for the remaining two acts is mindless violence and gravity defying set pieces. The Rock is a big lad, but he throws himself effortlessly around the skyscraper, via a convenient crane, like someone from a Marvel movie. In fact, I feel tonally the film would have been better suited if they had strayed slightly more into sci-fi territory. In the movie, the skyscraper already looks like some futuristic monolith, and I would have believed a little more in the premise had they just tweaked the world building a little, maybe setting it a few years ahead, and providing Johnson with some better equipment to get the job done with.
He has an incredible reliance here on duct tape, and I know that it’s awfully useful, but to be honest I would have preferred if he was given something a little more practical, like a jet pack. With his family trapped in the building that is on fire, all in the trailer folks, Johnson has to get into the building, save his family, defeat the bad guys, recover the plot device and clear his name, armed only with a fake leg and duct tape. I know it’s meant to be an adventure, but there are scenes here that literally make no sense, and every time something stupid happens, I was forced out of any drama involved because I know you can’t change the laws of physics with some rope and duct tape.
Everything else looked sci-fi – the building, the technology, the bizarre room filled with giant TV screens, so why not go the whole hog and give the audience something to hang their disbelief on?
Needless to say, everything plays out the way you would expect, and by the end of the third act I was ready to call it a day. Sure this was just another Dwayne Johnson movie, designed to entertain us over the holidays, but it was just so predictable, with a supporting cast that often looked, and sounded awkward, coupled with dialogue between characters that was both trite and cliched. A big budget $125 million B movie that could have been much better had they just stopped to think things through. The pull of Johnson will help the box office take, but I’m writing this review directly after seeing this film, as I know by tomorrow I will have forgotten it.