Updated: Feb 6, 2020
Skyscraper is the very definition of a big, dumb, summer action movie. It has a derivative story with no depth, exciting stunts without logic and a protagonist who can do incredible things against all odds. It is Die Hard in a really tall building mixed with The Towering Inferno. Though it is not exactly good, it is successful enough at being what it wants to be that I cannot quite call it bad. If you want to turn your brain off for 93 minutes (minus the end credits), then Skyscraper is the movie for you.
The film stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Will Sawyer, who lost a leg during a failed hostage negotiation a decade earlier. He now works security and, as the plot begins, he has been hired to assess a massive skyscraper in Hong Kong called The Pearl. Soon, The Pearl comes under attack from armed men who set a fire about halfway up its length. Since nobody else is capable, Will has to fight his way into the building and through the dangerous mercenaries in order to save his wife and two children who are trapped inside.
It is all a bunch of goofiness, but it works decently enough. The Rock is unsurprisingly a lot of fun in the lead. He has a few okay-ish one-liners and gets to kick some bad guy butt. Neve Campbell, as his wife, is almost a co-lead. She is pretty entertaining as she gets to stretch her action heroine muscles a little bit while she tries to protect her children. Everyone else is just background, but between Johnson, Campbell and the action scenes, there is enough here to occupy fans of the genre.
Most of the action is competently put together. Writer and director Rawson Marshall Thurber understands how to use his star for his strengths. The idea is that Sawyer just wants to make money and spend time with his family. He wants to avoid violence. Johnson is sympathetic and believable as a guy who can do some serious damage when provoked. Of course, this being a summer action spectacular, the stunts are not at all realistic. However, if you can set aside your disbelief, they are well done. The final fight scene, the nature of which I will not reveal, is actually quite cool, even if it goes on a little too long. It is visually clever and adds a slight twist to the formula. That is something Skyscraper as a whole does not really do.
If you have seen the advertisements, you know everything about this movie except what it is like to watch it for an hour and a half. As it turns out, it is not a terrible experience. Skyscraper is fast-paced, does not take itself too seriously and has a couple of good performances from its stars. It is not worth going out of your way for but, if you happen to stumble across it on cable in six months or so, you may be very mildly entertained. Even if you forget about it five minutes after it is over.
2¾ out of 5
Dwayne Johnson as Will Sawyer
Neve Campbell as Sarah Sawyer
McKenna Roberts as Georgia Sawyer
Noah Cottrell as Henry Sawyer
Roland Møller as Kores Botha
Chin Han as Zhao Long Ji
Pablo Schreiber as Ben
Noah Taylor as Mr. Pierce
Byron Mann as Inspector Wu
Written and Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber