Okay, let’s just dive straight in here so I can move on to tell you what we’re dealing with. In ‘Skyscraper’, Dwayne Johnson (‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’) plays Will Sawyer who, 10 years ago as an FBI agent, had a mission go terribly wrong - he may have lost a leg, but in the intervening years he gained a wife, Sarah (Neve Campbell, ‘Scream’) and twin children Georgia (McKenna Roberts) and Henry (Noah Cottrell). In the present day, Will has left the FBI and now owns a small security company who have been hired to test the tallest, most sophisticated and technologically-advanced building in the world - The Pearl. This Hong Kong commercial and residential wonder is ready to be open to residents once it gets the all-clear from Will. But when the bad guys come knocking, taking control of the entire building and setting it on fire with Will’s family trapped inside and Will on the outside, finding his way in and to his family is only half the battle.
This is a popcorn escapism at its most... average. Surprisingly, this cinematic extravaganza has only one screenwriter to its name - Rawson Marshall Thurber who also gave us ‘Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story’, ‘We’re the Millers’ and ‘Central Intelligence’. You’ll notice that these are all comedies. From my count, there were a grand total of two moments in ‘Skyscraper’ that made me exhale suddenly as a reaction to legitimate and purposeful humour. Odd, to say the least. Look, we’ve all seen this movie a thousand times, whether the setting is The Pearl, Nakatomi Plaza or Air Force One. I used to think that worst-case scenario was to have the audience laugh at you when you weren’t aiming for funny, but it turns out I was wrong. ‘Skyscraper’ is worst-case scenario - I wasn’t laughing at it, I wasn’t laughing with it and, worst of all, I didn't think any of it was cool - just dumb, almost boring, with really bad green screen work. Instead of spending an hour and 45 minutes being in awe of the grand action set pieces that were unfolding in front of me, I spent that time fantasising about if The Pearl was real. Sadly it’s not. Sadly this movie is.
Johnson does his stock-standard performance as an affable brick wall who tries to downplay his physical size and fails.
Johnson does his stock-standard performance as an affable brick wall who tries to downplay his physical size and fails. I will give credit to Marshall Thurber for making “the wife” character equally capable and formidable, however she does still need to be saved by a man. Luckily he needs to be saved back at some point. The movie plods along with more than a few plot points that make no sense but are there to keep the action moving and coming out of nowhere. The motive and execution are of course OTT - bad guys are such drama queens - and there’s also a double-cross thrown in for absolutely no good reason and a swift departure of one of the children because, well, they clearly didn't know what to do with them for the remainder of the film.
With absolutely zero comedic relief (again, odd right?), it all plays a bit too much and too grand, and yet not enough at the same time. Void of quality, fun and originality, there’s not much going for ‘Skyscraper’. In a pinch I’ll say the return of Neve Campbell? And maybe Hannah Quinlivan, who provided the highlight of the evening when my boyfriend leaned into me and said, “Chinese Ruby Rose?” to which I replied “OH MY GOD YES!”