There's no rest for the wicked as Skyscraper marks Dwayne Johnson's third movie in just eight months. As we've seen from the gravity defying posters and trailers - Skyscraper is by no means created with any sense of realism or logic. Taking heavy inspiration from Die Hard and Towering Inferno, Johnson's latest action romp sees a father risk everything in order to save his family from a burning building.
Skyscraper aims high but has just about as much character as a crumbling bungalow. Although it's entirely derivative of Die Hard and Towering Inferno (even down to the european terrorists) that isn't particularly the issue - Skyscraper lacks enough originality and creativity to bridge from the two classic movies from which it's inspired. Obviously Dwayne Johnson movies are either hit or miss, Fast and Furious 8 was quite poor as was Jumanji - despite both of their roaring box office achievements - but San Andreas was great, big, dumb fun similarly to Rampage which released just this April. Yet as ridiculous and non sensical as Skyscraper is, it just isn't all that enjoyable.
There is a limit to cringeworthy screenplay, even for Johnson. This is the man who's charm and family friendly charisma allows him to get away with many issues from a film making perspective - but no matter how many bulging muscles "The Rock" presents in front of you, Skyscraper's clichéd formula glares you in the face. You have the terrorists, the guns, the explosions, the one liners - even a Hitchcock style climax - but none of this compensates for a very unstable plot. Johnson has established a fine line between cheesy fun and toe nail curling nonsense - and himself has spent many a time either side of it - for all his passion and enthusiasm and whilst he's always great value for money, Skyscraper doesn't really do much, failing to draw excitement or even the slightest bit of freshness from an overused template.
"The Pearl" which plays as the highly advanced two-hundred and twenty one storey building isn't used to its best ability as a set piece. The only moment of genuine thrill occurs when Johnson leaps off the end of a crane into an open window - in typical "The Rock" fashion of course. Aside from that Skyscraper's big moments are unsatisfying as they are tame - a lot more creative and refined action could've been designed with "The Pearl" alas it appears more like Dwayne Johnson's personal playground rather than a high stakes thriller. It may be heavily inspired by two existing action greats but Skyscraper also borrows from the far smarter and slicker Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. The sequence follows Johnson as he climbs "The Pearl" with duct tape stuck to his hands exactly like Ethan Hunt escalating the Burj with electro stick gloves.
Skyscraper isn't as enjoyably ridiculous as Johnson's recent flicks and takes itself too seriously when no one else is even trying to. When the question comes to mind, I can't even think of what Skyscraper's story actually explored beyond a man rescuing his family from a huge building. It's stodgy, stale and has dated quicker than the two films from which its based upon. For the time being Dwayne Johnson stills remains the king of guilty pleasure entertainment but Skyscraper is a very poor example of what the actor is capable of.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.