- Written and Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber
- July 1, 2018 (Beijing) / July 13, 2018 (United States)
A former FBI agent must rescue his family from the tallest building in the world after it is taken over by terrorists and set on fire.
Skyscraper is a better than it should have been action film starring Dwayne Johnson as Will Sawyer who is a former FBI hostage rescue team leader that lost his left leg in an explosion while on duty. Now working as a private security consultant, he is hired at the suggestion of an old friend to take a look at a new skyscraper in Beijing so it can be fully insured.
Johnson is a passable actor who plays characters that perform near superhuman things onscreen. A bit of a throwback to the likes of Schwarzenegger and Stallone. The character of Will Sawyer is no different as he leaps from a crane and through flames and manages to even slip between the blades of a giant wind turbine with nary a scratch. Very Schwarzeneggerian of him.
Neve Campbell plays his wife Sarah whom he met while he was in the hospital after the opening moments of the film. Unlike many wives in action movies, she at least has a background in this film that alludes to the possibility that she can effectively fight back against any henchmen that the plot may throw at her. She does not abruptly become a bad ass who can fight the bad guys and handle a sophisticated computer system-at least the bad guys part anyway.
And what is a hero in a movie like this without a cute kid to worry about? We get not one but two cute kids to worry about here because Will is a father of twins. At least for some of the movie until one gets to safety and becomes incidental to events while the other is in the clutches of the terrorists and Will and his unnaturally bulging muscles must flex and fight their way to rescue her.
Will’s old friend Ben Gillespie (Pablo Schreiber) works for wealthy Chinese tech entrepreneur and financier Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han) who is behind the construction of the skyscraper, called the Pearl, and has suggested Will to take an independent look. Ben though is secretly working for Scandinavian terrorist mastermind Kores Botha (Roland Møller) who plans on setting the skyscraper ablaze to get a flash drive with lots of incriminating information on it. Botha had been extorting money from Zhao during the construction project of the Pearl. When Botha learned that Zhao had detailed files on everything that could reveal names and accounts of those Botha works for, he comes up with this plan. The information is stored on a cool looking flash drive held at the top of the tower and the only way they can get access to it and get away is by taking over the computer system and causing this fire. There is a helicopter involved. Things do not go as planned though.
I like that they did not make the billionaire Zhao that built the tower just as bad as Botha or a bad guy in his own right. To be truthful he was not a hero, but he dealt with some shady characters in order to get his dream project done and his insurance to prevent himself from ever getting blackmailed again is what causes the whole set of problems. Too often in movies the rich guy must be evil even though these movies are produced by rich guys and rich studios. It is a bit cliché.
One of the cool more science-fiction parts of this film (aside from Will’s general capabilities) is an area of the Pearl which is a giant sphere with cameras and all these cool gadgets. You knew it was going to be significant to the movie somehow and it is where the finale takes place. Essentially though it is a technological twist on the hall of mirrors concept. There was a period when such finales seem to be quite commonplace in film and television and my young mind was left with the impression that mirror halls were much more significant in crime than they actually were.
Skyscraper had great visuals and fantastic action and the story was not bad even though in the finale the hanging a lantern on what Sarah did when it came to the security and safety system of the tower was a bit annoying. Turning it off and on is essentially what the character did but it does not need to be stated like that. And worse they alluded to her solution early in the film when Will gets her phone to work right.
I also draw issue with the friend betrayal aspect. Apparently Ben and Will were close buddies but after Ben turns on Will it all seems pretty much forgotten about. I mean the character just vanishes from the narrative and he is not even alluded to. He did one of the most important things in the plot and got forgotten.
I agree with the assessment of those that say this movie feels like it is a combination of Die Hard and The Towering Inferno but why should anybody care so long as you enjoy yourself? I thought it was a fun and exciting movie.
This is the first non-comedic film for Rawson Marshall Thurber. He does add comedic touches though like the on and off thing which would be more appropriate in an action comedy than in an action thriller. Still this movie stays more in the thriller zone than comedy zone.
Skyscraper is not the greatest film ever, but it is a very satisfying action movie. If you are a fan of action or Dwayne Johnson, I say watch it.