Skyscraper does what it says on the tin. It’s around an hour and 45 minutes of Dwayne Johnson performing epic feats in order to save his family from a billionaire’s burning megastructure. Written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, Skyscraper is your (relatively) bog-standard action film.
Beginning with a flashback to give us that all-important plot context, we’re introduced to FBI Hostage Specialist Will Sawyer (Johnson) and his future wife, Sarah (Neve Campbell). This sets it all up quite nicely before we fast forward ten years to a Hong Kong apartment, where the Sawyers (ft. two children) are currently staying.
Sawyer has a prosthetic leg and seeing a differently-abled hero performing the feats which Sawyer does is welcome and refreshing. However, it does lead me to wonder whether it would have been more groundbreaking to have cast an actual amputee in such a role. With an opportunity here for increased visibility in Hollywood, it seems like a shame.
Sawyer has become a security surveyor specialising in large buildings and skyscrapers. He’s been tasked to analyse the building’s strengths and weaknesses and was flown over with his family to present his findings. Pretty soon the main plot kicks off, and we’re thrown into a vague conspiracy which Sawyer’s family become entangled in.
Skyscraper seems to suffer a sort of genre-crisis. There’s elements of action, thriller and sci-fi in there, leaving the audience wondering what exactly they were watching. The plot itself is flimsy and the majority of characters shallow, excluding the very interesting billionaire Zhao Longji, played by Ng Chin Han. The script is…not good. With forced one liners, gritty (obvious) foreshadowing and failed attempts at recurring jokes, it’s hard to watch Skyscraper without groaning.
For a film based very much in the imaginary, the CGI isn’t always of the highest quality, which distracts from the action on-screen. The soundtrack, on the other hand, manages to build tension at just the right times.
Skyscraper isn’t a bad film, it’s just not that good. That being said, if you’re sat at home on a Saturday night and Skyscraper pops up on Netflix, it’s an easy watch, with fire, explosions and lots of Dwayne Johnson climbing. It won’t be the best action film you’ve ever watched, but if you look past its flaws, Skyscraper works as spectacle-driven background noise.
Image Credit: Movie DB.