Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller
Skyscraper on IMDb
So you always wondered what would happen if you crossed Die Hard with The Towering Inferno? Well, wonder no more. Skyscraper is what happens. I’m sure every reviewer that ever wrote about this film already pointed that out, but facts are facts.
Skyscraper stars the ubiquitous Dwayne Johnson as retired FBI agent turned freelance security expert Will Sawyer. Will is recruited to assess the security setup in the world’s highest building, an impressively high-tech Hong Kong skyscraper nicknamed The Pearl, built by wealthy entrepreneur Zhao (Chin Han). However, Zhao has run afoul of some very bad guys who will stop at nothing to reclaim some extremely sensitive information. Suddenly the brand-new building is burning like a torch, with Will’s wife and kids trapped inside and Will himself being framed for the arson. Cue action.
If you ask me, some of the best disaster movies ever made involve towering infernos (like, say, The Towering Inferno or The Tower). I would also put the original Die Hard on a top 10 of my favorite movies of all time. Skyscraper is unsurprisingly nowhere near as good as any of these, but it is a slickly made and decently entertaining disaster thriller if you don’t set your expectations too high.
The main strength of the film is the good-looking effects work and action scenes. I find stars like The Rock and Neve Campbell likable enough, but the plot is clichéd and peopled with a completely generic cast of characters. The smooth flow of action makes for easy viewing, but the relentless predictability means you can spot every plot twist and every traitorous character a mile away. For me, that undermines any actual thrill factor.
I prefer disaster movies where the heroes fight against forces of nature or try to survive freaky accidents rather than being up against heavily armed terrorists. For a better Dwayne Johnson disaster flick, I would recommend San Andreas instead.