Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) was a former special ops agent until a hostage situation went wrong and he was left with a mission leg. Jump to 10 years later and Will’s now married to the field doctor that saved his life (Neve Campbell) and they have two children together (McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell). These day’s Will’s life is much more low-key as an independent contractor who inspects building safety and security. His latest job is to inspect a new superstructure in Japan that’s gearing up for its grand opening if his findings gives the go-ahead.
It soon becomes clear that Will was just a patsy in a scheme to destroy the superstructure by a group of terrorists (led by Roland Moller) with a vendetta against the building’s owner Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han). The bad guys’ plans, though, for no unnecessary casualties falls apart when Will’s family finds themselves trapped in the building. Will soon finds himself on the run from the local police as he goes to heroic lengths to get back inside the building in an attempt to save his family from raging fires and terrorists.
Skyscraper may look an awful lot like Die Hard in its trailer and posters (heck, even in premise), but this high-octane action/thriller surprisingly stands on its own two legs. OK, yeah, that was a bad pun, but hear me out! I went into the theater expecting a bad knockoff, only to emerge both pleased and entertained as hell! The casting was great, the action fantastic, the story simple and to the point, with plenty of gorgeous cinematography to look at. My hat is off to all the cast and crew and I’m sorry it’s doing so poorly at the box office!
This is probably Dwayne Johnson’s best role to date. It was great to see Neve Campbell back in a major role. The kids did their jobs well, and the bad guys were all believable and badass. The age-appropriateness of The Rock and Neve Campbell as a couple was a refreshing change as we often see silver foxes married to women barely out of their 20s.
Another great move this movie made that I was pleased to see, was the main character get his butt kicked along the way – like, a lot! We’re often forced to witness heroes who seem either flawless or just incredibly lucky tearing their way through the bad guys with relative ease… so it was refreshing to see a character who USED to be a badass – now an everyman – get constantly thrown around, injured, beaten down, etc. as he makes his way to his goals. It makes everything so much more believable, so much more relatable, and so much more exciting knowing that our hero really could die at any moment (or at least get too damaged to continue his quest).
It’s for these reasons that I offer a huge kudos to writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence, Dodgeball). His commitment to keeping this film so grounded, despite the huge action going on, is commendable. Many directors and writers would simply have gone the usual route of a badass hero who’s nearly infallible… but Thurber didn’t fall to trope and gave a great action film that deserves way more butts in the seats than its getting. Perhaps the cause of low attendance may be the marketing campaign that makes it look so much like Die Hard? Despite their similarities, this really is a completely different film.
I’m not saying Skyscraper was flawless. There were logic issues scattered throughout and necessary conveniences (we wouldn’t have a movie if he couldn’t make that jump you see in the trailer, right?). But these are par for the course in the action genre. Even in a summer already full of blockbusters, Skyscraper is absolutely worth the price of admission + plus some popcorn. It deserves way more love than it’s been getting.