Skyscraper - 2018
Director(s): Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writer(s): Rawson Marshall Thurber
Cinematography by: Robert Elswit
Editor(s): Julian Clarke and Michael L. Sale
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Pablo Schreiber, Noah Taylor, Chin Han, Hannah Quinlivan and Roland Møller
Synopsis: A father goes to great lengths to save his family from a burning skyscraper (IMDB).
I honestly love Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I have been a fan of many his art forms since 1997, when I really got into wrestling. One of the thing that people tend to focus on is his work ethic, since it seems like he is always working on five movies at the same time and still goes to the gym for ten hours. But something that tends to be overlooked is his desire to be a “man of the people,” or what the wrestling fans call “the people’s champ”. This is more than evident once you look at all his acting credits. He is focused on producing fun, fast-paced and simply entertaining movies for the people. If you’re a movie lover, you could find something to like, and if you are a casual viewer, you can also find something you will like. In Skyscraper, it will be easy for everyone to find something to like within the runtime.
You can clearly see that writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber is a lover of action movies and is heavily influenced by the movies he grew-up watching. The story is a hybrid of 1974’s The Towering Inferno and 1988’s Die Hard, something they acknowledge through the homage posters released in the days leading up to the release. The one homage that I smirked at was the use of duct tape, and I bet John McClane is also smirking somewhere in NYC. A law enforcement agent is put in an extreme situation - a building set on fire in order to steal a valuable item - and he must save his family and stop the bad guy’s plot. It’s heavy on the action and it never lets the audience think about the details too much since they are always off and running to the next action set piece.
Quick note: I’m terrified of heights and I told my wife if I was in Johnson’s situation she would’ve have died. I can’t climb a crane, let alone jump from it to a building.
My main qualm with the movie is its predictability. Since it heavily leans on tropes and story beats from the past, you can see almost everything coming, to the point that during the first act me and my wife kept whispering to each other (we went to the late showing and it was empty – so nobody was bothered) how what we just saw will come back towards the third act. In one instance, I said to her “this is going to happen… well, maybe not, it’s too obvious”. It happened. I’m not saying it completely took away from the experience, I still had a lot of fun, it just felt that the top hat was transparent and we saw that the bunny was in there the whole time.
Quick note: while the action overall was shot very well, the hand to hand fight scenes were shot up close, making it a bit hard to tell what was happening. If they would have been shot at medium or wide, it would’ve benefited the fight greatly.
As for the acting, it’s solid all around with no clear stand out. Johnson continues to prove he is a bonafide action-star and showcased his ability to sell his emotions. He had a couple of touching scenes with the kids that sold me on him being a loving and caring father. It was wonderful seeing Neve Campbell on the big screen again. She held her own and had a couple of action scenes as well. My fan theory is that her character is Sidney Prescott, and after Scream 4 she goes into the witness protection program, changes her name and becomes a doctor. She meets Johnson, falls in love, and now she is once again in a situation where her fists must do the talking. Sidney can’t catch a break.
Skyscraper is a predictable yet enjoyable action thrill ride. I equate it to the roller coaster at your local amusement park. You have ridden it so many times in the past that you already know all the twists and turns and you know what awaits you in the end, but you still get on it every time you visit the park because it’s a fun time nonetheless. Johnson is charismatic and entertaining and it’s always a treat to see Campbell. It’s a stuff your face with popcorn fun movie and that’s more than fine. The Rock is why I love movies.
Skyscraper is currently playing in theater. Matinee type of movie.
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