Legnedary Pictures & Universal Pictures
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thuber
Written by: Rawson Marshall Thuber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Rolland Moller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber & Hannah Quinlivan
I’ll be honest and say ‘Skyscraper‘ wasn’t a film I was particularly excited about seeing. There hadn’t been too much buzz about it in my normal movie circles other than “It stars Dwayne Johnson. He’s playing an amputee. He has to go into a burning skyscraper to rescue people.” I ended up being completely blown away by this movie and I’ll be recommending it to anyone who is interested in seeing a true summer blockbuster! Dwayne Johnson plays former FBI hostage rescue agent Will Sawyer who lost part of his left leg in the line of duty 10 years earlier. Now, he has a wife (Neve Campbell) and two children (McKenna Roberts & Noah Cottrell) and his own tiny security consulting firm. When his friend and former partner gets him a job in Hong Kong verifying the security and safety measures of the world’s new tallest building, The Pearl, for it’s owner and architect Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han), everything seems to be going well. Soon, Sawyer learns that his friend has set him up to be the prime suspect in the building’s destruction while a terrorist group attempts to kidnap Zhao and steal his most prized possession. Now, Sawyer must race against time to save his family who are trapped inside The Pearl while clearing his own name and stopping the mercenary group behind everything.
In my humble opinion, this may be the best Dwayne Johnson has ever been! He isn’t just the normal action hero, fighting machine taking down the bad guys. He’s playing a flawed and slightly broken man, an amputee with lingering PTSD, fighting against seemingly insurmountable odds to save his family. There are obvious comparisons to be made between this movie and the classic 80’s film ‘Die Hard‘, but the comparisons are only there on the surface. ‘Skyscraper’ has more heart than snark, more courage than comedy. There are certainly funny moments and this isn’t a drama by any means so don’t take it that way. But underneath the exterior of an incredible action film are layers of real emotion as we see Johnson’s character push forward while, quite literally at times, defying the laws of physics. (But if anyone can break the laws of physics, it’d be Dwayne Johnson, am I right?) The plot is textured without being overly complex and I don’t feel there were any wasted moments which helped keep the movie’s run time down to a fast-paced 1 hour and 42 minutes (although it seemed even shorter while watching it). The stunts in the film are truly astonishing and this is the very first film I’ve seen so far this year where I found myself squeezing the armrest of the chair and holding my breath during some of the stunt sequences so I give huge kudos to stunt coordinator Robert Alonzo and his entire team on some dizzying and eye-popping stunt work!
The acting was also on-point for the entire cast. I’ve already sang the praises of Dwayne Johnson so I don’t want to belabor that point, but I truly loved his performance in this film! Neve Campbell’s character is confident, smart and strong and she has great chemistry with Johnson. Chin Han is always sublimely charming and cool under pressure while Roland Moller‘s character of terrorist mastermind Kores Botha was fiendish perfection. The other notable performance for me was that of Hannah Quinlivan‘s character Xia who I loved to hate in every one of her scenes (I can pay no higher compliment to any villain!). You’ll recognize the name of writer / director Rawson Marshall Thurber from his other films such as ‘Dodgeball‘ and ‘We’re The Millers‘ but with ‘Skyscraper’, I can see his future as a big-budget action movie director climb to whole new levels! (Pun intended.)
In summation, I feel that ‘Skyscraper’ is a return to form of what a “summer blockbuster” is meant to be! Early projections have the film garnering anywhere from $32 – $40 million when it opens this weekend, but I feel word of mouth could bring that number up higher and I think, perhaps more importantly, that the film will continue to do well on it’s 2nd and subsequent weekends which, as we’ve seen, is where some recent movies have faltered lately. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate this one as a towering 9.0! So if you’re burning to see a fantastic action film with an outstanding cast & breathtaking stunts, then get tickets NOW to see ‘Skyscraper’ at your local theater and raise your summer excitement into the stratosphere!!!