‘Even if it’s completely implausible, some of the stuff Will does to protect his family […] are a lot of fun’
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Moller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber, Hannah Quinlivan
While I accept I haven’t seen all of them, this very well may be one of my favourite Dwayne Johnson (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) films. Granted, Skyscraper isn’t a terrific film, but it is a whole lot of fun (if you suspend your disbelief, that is). After an incident left Will (Dwayne Johnson) needed his lower leg amputated, he became a security assessor for large skyscrapers. Struggling to get insurance for his new skyscraper, the tallest in the world, Will is hired by Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han), the creator, to assess its safety. Will is impressed and awkwardly quotes that it’s one of the safest buildings in the world, but it’s soon set ablaze, with Will’s family stuck inside, by terrorists who seek to ruin Zhao.
As mentioned, the suspension of disbelief is key to the enjoyment of this film; seeing Will, an amputee, remember, running across a stupidly high crane to leap off it and narrowly grab on to a open window ledge in the building is ridiculous in all the right ways. Also, I found Dwayne Johnson’s casting as Will a little implausible, too: don’t get me wrong, I like Dwayne Johnson and he plays these roles very well, but he’s been out of the FBI for over a decade and now assesses security on skyscrapers with an amputated leg yet he’s still built like a tank. Dwayne Johnson’s physique defies the laws of physics half of the time, and having seen how much effort he puts in to maintain that physique it’s hard to imagine Will, the character, having that same passion for it with a regular job, a wife and two kids.
It was also extremely frustrating how little the characters sold the height of the skyscraper. They’re set in one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world yet there’s a scene where Zhao, at the top of the building, walks across an opened runway to his personal helicopter. At no point does he fear about the height that he’s at nor is the wind playing any sort of role, and this is mirrored throughout the film for the most part. Will is shown looking down a lot, but it’s not powerful enough for us to really worry about the height they’re at. They may as well be fighting on the ground for all they play off the height. It’s also the same with the smoke; a few times people cough and cover their mouths, but it doesn’t happen enough for me, to fully be invested in the fact the building is on fire.
That, and a few other minor issues, aside, Skyscraper is still a fun ride. Even if it’s completely implausible, some of the stuff Will does to protect his family (even his decision to get back into the burning building without knowing if his wife or kids are still alive is unbelievable) are a lot of fun. Jumping from the crane to the building, crawling around the building to get to a panel and creatively using his amputated leg to save his life (although it would have played out better had they explored how being amputated initially felt like it ruined his life).
It also uses comedy quite effectively; Rawson Marshall Thurber is known for making comedies and it shows in here. Some of the times the comedy doesn’t blend with the super serious nature of the film, but for the most part it’s a nice little moment of humour in a dark film. While a film that won’t live long in the memory for being a great film, it’s a thoroughly entertaining 103-minutes, which quickly starts the action and has all the benefits from Die Hard and The Towering Inferno combined with Dwayne Johnson, even if that doesn’t sound incredibly original.
Personal: * * * Acting: * * * Writing: * * * Presentation: * * * *
Overall Rating: * * * ¼