Skyscraper wants to be the next Die Hard, but it misses the point in favor of meaningless, over-the-top action scenes.
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Summary: A father goes to great lengths to save his family from a burning skyscraper.
Every other action movie wants to be the next Die Hard. That’s not a bad movie to aspire to (it’s one of the best), but it’s also a movie that wasn’t lazy. It had a solid plot that made sense and a casting choice that changed the game. No one expected someone like Bruce Willis to be an action star, because he was a middle-aged guy in decent but not amazing shape. That isn’t the normal type of hero for action movies, and it made things interesting. That is the main point of Die Hard that Skyscraper misses. There is never a moment where we think the main character can’t pull something off physically, because he’s played by Dwayne Johnson, who looks like he’s carved from marble.
There are moments of tension that do work in Skyscraper, but they are mostly the moments that play off of a fear of heights or vertigo. However, the movie demands such a suspension of disbelief when it comes to the physics of smoke, fire, and gravity that it can get distracting. The smoke is only an issue when it needs to be, and gravity is only an issue when the plot decides it. The reason why the building is burning now makes sense only if you cross your eyes and throw logic out the window (of a skyscraper).
With the lack of tension comes the boredom, and for an action movie that is a shot to the kneecap. It’s not enough to get angry about, but it’s also that kind of action movie you’ll forget about five minutes after it’s over. It’s disposable in the best (or worst) kind of way.
The cast isn’t good or bad, and if Johnson is your favorite actor you’ll likely get something out of it. It will probably be a hit in China, and Legendary could really use a hit if we’re going to see any more of the monster-verse or a third Pacific Rim movie. Director Rawson Marshall Thurber is a competent enough director, but not the greatest writer. He could do well on a comic book movie with someone else doing the writing.
Skyscraper isn’t good enough to run out to see, but it’s not bad enough to get worked up about either. If it’s hot outside and you’re bored, maybe catch a matinee to escape the heat. If not, this is one you can wait for home release or streaming.
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