Sunday, 22 July 2018

Film Review: Skyscraper

One night, one building, one absolute unit; Dwayne Johnson must brave heights and hellfire to save his family from death in Rawson Marshall Thurber's Skyscraper.

Neve Campbell in Skyscraper.
In his second star vehicle of the year, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson continues to reaffirm his status as unquestionably the hardest working man in Hollywood, as well as the most marketable leading man in town. Neither a sequel, a reboot or a remake, Skyscraper is a standalone disaster/action film in the same vein as The Towering Inferno and Die Hard, and it's Johnson who carries the film on his hulking, tattooed shoulders. Its just a shame that everything else is crumbling around him.

A former solider who now works as a skyscraper safety expert (seriously), Will Sawyer (Johnson) and his family are flown to Hong Kong so that Will can give his tick of approval to The Pearl, the tallest and most innovative skyscraper in the world. Its visionary, Chinese billionaire Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han), is a powerful man with powerful enemies, and said enemies hijack Will's flying visit in an attempt to frame him and exact revenge on Zhao. With The Pearl ablaze and his wife (Neve Campbell) and children trapped a hundred storeys in the air, Will must charge headlong into danger to clear his name and save the day.

Skyscraper, written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (DodgeballCentral Intelligence), is a sky-high platform for Johnson to showcase his leading man status, and while the film itself has a shaky quagmire for a foundation, the film delivers on its premise of 'a very big building, a very big fire and a very big man', so long as you don't dwell on the details too much. It's loud, dumb and brash, the kind of glossy CGI film that you forget about the next day.

Johnson strides through the licking flames and swirling smoke with bravado, but aside from his physical presence, this is far from his best or most charismatic role. Increasingly tied to a singular archetype – that of a strong yet sensitive man who will stop at nothing to protect his family (see also: San Andreas, Furious 7) – Johnson doesn't have a lot to work with, aside from loving his family and having one leg (and yes, the leg does factor into the plot on numerous occasions). Campbell, in her first major role since Scream 4, gets to kick some butt at one point. This film could've done with more Sidney Prescott kicking butt.

The film's plot is derivative with a capital D. Cliches abound – the villain is a sneering Russian, the Rock's son suffers with asthma – and the way that everything wraps up is one of silliest things put to film in recent memory. The visuals, slathered in CGI, at least convey a sense of scale and height, with one scene where Johnson must scale a crane a particular highlight.

The Verdict: 5/10

At one point in the film, Johnson's character quips that "if you can't fix it with duct tape, you aren't using enough duct tape". This film is in dire need of a lot more duct tape to plug the holes in its plot.

Skyscraper is in cinemas across Australia now.

1 comment:

  1. Getting ready to post a review myself. I gotta say I had fun with this one but it's certainly nothing particularly groundbreaking. You know exactly what you're going to get.



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