SKYSCRAPER (2018)

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  • Release Date: 20/07/2018
  • Writer and Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
  • Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Roland Moller, Chin Han

Every Dwayne Johnson film, no matter how predictable or repetitive is always a matter of interest for me. I enjoy his brand of action and the man is so charismatic that even when he is saying something dumb, I feel like being on the same page with. However, his last 2 releases (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Rampage) didn’t work for me. Even before its release, Skyscraper was getting ripped off because of it’s out of the world action and obvious references to films like Die Hard and The Towering Inferno. The makers were taken in by the criticism and cynicism so much that they released two posters of the film as a throwback to Die Hard and The Towering Inferno. It was their way of giving the finger to all those who were out there judging their film without even giving it a chance. I went into this film with a clear mind and zero expectations.

The plot of the film revolves around a former Military guy turned FBI rescue specialist turned Security System Designer and analyzer Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) who is brought in to analyze and clear the safety of the tallest building on earth known as The Pearl in Hong Kong. Within hours of him undertaking the job, the building comes under siege from a group of mercenaries who set a portion of the building on fire. Unfortunately Will’s family is stuck in the same building and he is on the run from the cops who think that he has masterminded the whole attack on the building. Will, now must find a way to enter the besieged building, save his family and also put an end to the nefarious plot in play inside the building.

Skyscraper is the perfect recipe for Dwayne Johnson to flex his muscles and be the hero every fifteen minutes. What I liked about the film was that it was investing from start to finish. I have seen both Die Hard and The Towering Inferno and I looked for references and similarities between those films and this one all throughout. Yes! There are many throwbacks and yes! This film isn’t original in any sense of terms but what cannot be denied is the fact that it is very entertaining and engrossing. It has an amped up budget which led to some pretty spectacular visuals. Easily, the action and the visuals take center stage and if one is interested in those things alone there is a lot to cheer for. However what must be kept in mind is that laws of gravity and physics do not exist in a world were Dwayne Johnson and his brand of action exists.

Dwayne Johnson is in his element. He has the kind of persona that is enough to carry a film for 1 hour 43 minutes when it is about making his way up a 200 storey building to save his family. He has the swagger and the charisma to pull off a film like this on his broad shoulders. I wonder how well he could have done had he got a little more support from the others in the film. I generally don’t hate on kids but the child actors in this film are pretty terrible. The fact that the director doesn’t pay enough attention to ensure that the case of asthma in one of the kids is not situational only makes the matter worse. Leaving that aside the kids are terrible at expression and even worse when they are emoting under situations of duress.

Neve Campbell lends able support to “The Rock” but her character is all about running around trying to save the kids until their daddy comes along to finish off the job. Hence you cannot expect her to deliver an Oscar-worthy performance. My biggest qualm about the performances is obviously with the bad guys. Boy! They are one dimensional, cliché and plain out bad. Roland Moller is the worst. He epitomizes everything that is found common and repetitive about villains in B-Grade films. The worst case is that he is hardly scary. His act will definitely be compared to that of Alan Rickman who played the nefarious Hans Grubber. I am sure that the throwbacks will be only to show the difference in the quality of performances and to ridicule Moller but a comparison even in that line is blasphemous for the great and departed Alan Rickman. Chin Han is equally terrible and the girl who plays the Chinese assassin is bad to the level of being irritating. Collectively these actors nearly brought down the whole film.

Having said all that, I still believe that whoever walks into this film will do so to see “The Rock” in action and this film delivers plenty of that. No matter how absurd, no matter how cliché and no matter how unoriginal, this film will hold your attention for the duration of its runtime. Once it is over you may question its existence but you will have a good time through its runtime. I found it ages better than Rampage and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. However, it is high time that Dwayne Johnson starts reducing his exposure and choosing his scripts more carefully. He needs to do more films like “The Gridiron Gang” and “Snitch”. He has the acting prowess that he is not using which he should at the earliest.

I liked Skyscraper for the entertainment that it had to provide. I liked it for being honest about its existence and I liked it for “The Rock” and his act.

Rating: 2.5/5 (2.5 out of 5 Stars)                     

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