Sometimes you need huge, reality-leaving movies to enjoy for an evening and Skyscraper is what you’d expect, as writer and director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence) serves up a vertical thrill ride that pushes the logical boundaries of believability but keeps you watching thanks to extreme fun and Dwayne Johnson’s Will Sawyer committed family man giving it everything.
Sawyer is an ex-FBI Hostage Team leader, and after an opening sequence and scenario that goes badly wrong, we skip forward in time to see him putting on a prosthetic leg and heading off to a job interview, fully by supported by his two kids and wife Sarah (the always excellent Neve Campbell). Thankfully, there’s not a lot of hanging around in this early stages in terms of plot progression but this isn’t your normal thriller because the entire film is set in the world’s largest Skyscraper that’s been built in Hong Kong, one that’s supposedly the safest and securest ever.
Of course, Sawyer is trying to get a job in this huge building and while he does get the job, after he leaves there’s a deliberate act of arson in the middle of the structure and… he’s been framed for it. Suddenly on the run, will he clear his name but also save his family who’ve been trapped in there? Well, what do you think, you’ll have to find out won’t you?
Now, this ridiculously massive building is perhaps larger than science and gravity itself but when would that stop anything? It probably doesn’t need to be quite as gigantic, considering the film only ever takes place on half of it, but they’re visualising big here. Skyscraper contains huge set pieces and outrageous situations but it’s oddly enjoyable once we’re past that first half-hour, which isn’t sensible but who cares, this is the world’s biggest skyscraper, it’s on fire, and we eventually get to see Johnson hanging by his leg, hundreds of feet in the air…
Beyond Neve’s Sarah and their kids, the film is full of classic clichéd characters, I’d be surprised if you didn’t work out who was bad and who was good almost immediately, and Hannah Quinlivan’s Xia seems to have been thrown into proceedings and stolen from The Matrix. Beyond a cool fight with Campbell, I’m unsure what she’s there for though. Couple with her character, Director Marshall Thurber also gives us an over the top death count, many that are really unnecessary, and that distracts quite badly from an otherwise reasonably centred plot plan.
Skyscraper is undoubtedly far-fetched and extreme to the excess but it’s Dwayne Johnson who keeps us intrigued. His Will Sawyer is a genuine character and, with the tower-block involved, it’s like merging Tom Cruise and Bruce Willis into one. Johnson may not be your classic ‘everyman’ but he’s always sincere, strong and relatable, so that’s what gets you. There’s also a nice emotion connection between him and his family, which adds to the package.
Truth be told, Skyscraper may not stay in your mind forever, yet Johnson’s Sawyer kicking ass with one leg and trying to save the day makes this perfectly enjoyable popcorn affair and, just as importantly, bang on escapism for any night of the week.
Skyscraper is available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on 19 November, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
Watch some Blu-ray featurettes here and the film now right here: https://amzn.to/2QPTATi