by Charles Kirkland Jr.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson continues his circuit of disaster movie as he tackles The Towering Inferno in Skyscraper.
Will Sawyer (Johnson) is a former FBI Hostage Rescue specialist who, ten years after he survived a rescue gone wrong, now runs a small security company. When he gets a call from one of his fellow survivors Ben (Pablo Schreiber) to do a security consult on The Pearl, the tallest building in the world, he jumps at the chance to get his family to Hong Kong. So, Will rounds up his wife, Sarah (Neve Campbell), the surgeon who saved his life, and children and head to China.
Once in The Pearl, everything is not as it appears. The building is attacked by terrorists who disable the security and fire suppression systems and start a massive fire with the intent of holding the building for ransom. Unfortunately, Sawyer’s family gets trapped in the building fire and Sawyer himself becomes a wanted man of the terrorism. Sawyer now must battle the police and the true terrorists to save his family.
Skyscraper is the latest feature in the career string of mega-superstar, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Jumanji, Moana, the Fast and Furious franchise). Johnson who star rose from the unlikely world of professional wrestling has morphed into one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood today. His charisma and athleticism set him apart from any other actor in the business, aside from Tom Cruise. His last movie Rampage, based upon an arcade game, grossed $99 million dollars domestically and another $425 million worldwide.
Johnson does not disappoint in this film. Despite the lack of originality, Johnson makes Skyscraper more than a combination of The Towering Inferno, Die Hard, and Cliffhanger. Even though the ridiculous stunts (jumping from a crane into a building) and predictable plot lines, Johnson owns the screen and allows us to suspend reality to accept that only he could do the things that we are watching him do.
Writer and director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball, We’re The Millers) who reunites with The Rock after Central Intelligence, will not win any awards for crafting this piece but will undoubtedly benefit from creating a vehicle that is a perfect fit for his stars. Johnson plays the damaged and reluctant father forced back into action with believable sincerity. Yet the surprising delight of the movie is the role of Sarah played by Neve Campbell (House of Cards series, the Scream franchise). Campbell plays a strong and caring wife and mother who fights just as hard for her family as her husband does. The strength of her character may not lie in the ability to scale a burning building but her mental resolve makes her just as much of a fighter.
Skyscraper was not filmed in 3D and I cannot recommend seeing the movie in this format except for seeing the dizzy heights of the building (especially the scenes where Johnson is dangling from it) through the 3D conversion lens. It is at these times mostly when the movie utilizes the format to its best. So beware, if you do see the movie in 3D, there may be moments when vertigo-sufferers will be challenged.
Rated PG-13, for sequences of gun violence and action, and for brief strong language, Skyscraper is an entertaining yet predictable adventure that creatively mashes together its predecessors into a form that does not elevate itself but does accentuate the abilities of the actors who it features. Not the height of entertainment but passable anyway.