Earlier today after seeing The Who concert near the Shrewsbury River in New Jersey, I was given two choices: to catch Dwayne Johnson’s latest action picture “Skyscraper” at the 8pm show, or wait for the 9:30 showing and go out on the motorboat with my folks. I chose the second one, as I knew this movie would be crappy.
Enjoy the nice sunset, and wait until it gets dark. But why wait to see it anyway? It’s a noisy, tiresome, and cliche-filled disaster movie that tries to splice “The Towering Inferno,” “Die Hard,” and a few pieces of “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol.”
Johnson plays Will Sawyer, a former FBI agent, who loses his left leg from a bomb attack. Now, as an amputee and family man, he manages the security for skyscrapers, including The Pearl, located in Hong Kong, which is said to be the tallest building in the world: taller than either the Burj Khalifa or the Empire State Building.
He takes his family (Neve Campbell of “Scream” fame as his doctor wife, and McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell as their kids) on his business trip to give the building one last inspection before they open the top half of it.
But then, terrorists (led by Roland Moller) hijack the building, because they covet a disk hidden by the building’s owner (Chin Han). They set the 96th floor on on fire, and Will’s family is trapped inside the top half. He survives a gun fight, and the first cliche of the movie is: he has to be a wanted man for a crime he didn’t commit.
The second cliche is traitors (Pablo Schreiber as Will’s friend and Noah Taylor as a businessman). You can pretty much tell that someone on the inside are involved in this attack, especially when they leave text messages. But the main ones I’m describing, get killed (snap) like that.
And the third cliche, and this is not my favorite, is how Will has to climb a really tall crane (in under 5 minutes according to the movie) in order to get into the really tall building. It’s never fun to watch people hang off of cranes, and we can always tell when the hero survives the jump from the crane to the building. It’s the number one law of action movies.
There’s nothing wrong with Johnson’s performance. He does what he can with his muscles, tattoo, vulnerability, and dialogue. It’s the movie he starring in that’s the problem. In disaster movies, like “San Andreas” or “Rampage,” he’s always glamorized as the hero who can save the day.
“Skyscraper” goes all over the place with its terrorists, traitors, explosions, and destruction; it was hard for myself to get involved with the plot. You can barely read the characters, and it was often too dark to see what exactly was happening.
There are amazing special effects like the Pearl, which offers a room of mirrors, and can make you look like you’re floating over the city, but they have to get involved with the action.
The movie was directed by Johnson’s “Central Intelligence” director Rawson Marshall Thurber, who has made some good comedies. But if he going to direct more action pictures, he needs to focus on the plot and less on the fights and destruction. We don’t need another Michael Bay.