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article imageReview: ‘Skyscraper’ is so big it misses out on the details Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jul 13, 2018 in Entertainment
‘Skyscraper’ is an action movie that centres on danger and explosions with not a lot happening in the area of character development.
Endangered family members have been a motivating factor for action heroes more than once — it’s one of the many reasons these ties to loved ones are generally considered a weakness and frequently leveraged as such. But it also makes for a great ticking clock narrative in which the protagonist must complete some task by the deadline in order to save them… though the villain’s demands are often ignored in favour of a plan that results in the rescuing of loved ones and the death/apprehension of the bad guy. The latest movie star to take on this role is Dwayne Johnson in Skyscraper.
Will Sawyer (Johnson) was part of an elite section of the FBI, but he hasn’t touched a gun in 10 years since an assignment went wrong. Now, he’s focused on his wife (Neve Campbell), twins and landing a substantial security consultant job. Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han) has built an enormous skyscraper in Hong Kong, towering more than 200 storeys with state-of-the-art safety and security systems, and he needs it certified by an external expert in order to obtain insurance. However, a highly motivated criminal uses these protections against Zhao in order to rob him of something extremely valuable. When Will’s family is caught in the middle of this deadly plot, he’ll do anything to save them.
There are certainly some interesting elements to this story, such as Will’s artificial limb, the out-of-control inferno consuming the structure one floor at a time and the complication of having to enter a building from above the 100th floor without a helicopter. The filmmakers make good use of Johnson’s physique, having him muscle his way through several obstacles, including the police, robbers and soaring monkey bars. Toss in a few good lines of dialogue, particularly his quip about duct tape, and audiences have themselves a star. And even though this is somewhat a watered down version of John McClane, you can’t blame Johnson for wanting to mirror one of the best and most memorable action heroes of the 20th century.
The main problem with this film is the bad guys are seriously lacking in personality. Every time the movie cuts away from Will or his family, the pace noticeably slows. Outside of knowing how to set a fire and shoot a gun, most of them have zero other purpose and are just fodder. Even the two criminals leading the charge display only slightly more character than their cronies, which isn’t saying much. Moreover, there are fewer confrontations between them and Will since he spends more of his time trying to find ways into various parts of the tower.
With lots of action and not a lot of character building, this picture seems made to appeal to the market in which it’s set. There’s definitely some parallels to its more Western counterparts, but the over-the-top prowess and big explosive scenes vs. more direct conflicts places the focus on watching the action rather than engaging with the characters, which is fine but not memorable (unlike the below trailer, which is awesome).
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell and Roland Møller
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