In Skyscraper, the biggest (fictional) free-standing building in the world catches on fire at its structural midpoint, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson‘s family is stuck inside.
You can probably deduce what happens next: one-and-a-half hours of Johnson, as security expert and father-of-two Will Sawyer, kicking ass, taking names, and absolutely owning the sky-high tower and the villains in every way imaginable.
This is standard summer blockbuster fare, with lots of explosions, last-minute jumps and feats of physicality that would be absolutely unbelievable with anyone else in the starring role (OK, except for maybe Tom Cruise). The Rock’s beastly physique makes you question your own questioning; if anyone is able to pull off these insane moves, it’s him.
Is there anything unique about the plot?
Nope. This is exactly what the trailer promised. Sawyer and his family are the first civilian residents of the biggest skyscraper on the planet, and like the claims about the ill-fated Titanic, it’s hailed as the “safest” place to live. Based on that assertion, the audience can be sure it’s not.
Sure enough, a vigilante group seeks to destroy the building and take a valued prize from the owner, and Sawyer is framed for it. The bad guys set the building ablaze, trapping Sawyer’s family, and he’s the only one who can save them.
I’m afraid of heights. Will this movie be tough to watch?
As a service to those afraid of heights, yes, this will be an anxiety-inducing watch. If you’ve seen Cliffhanger or the Mission: Impossible climbing sequences, then you know what to expect. It’s sweaty palms and tingly feet the whole way through.
How about the supporting characters?
Strangely, for a movie like this, the supporting cast is surprisingly standout. The only exception is a ridiculously evil villain (Noah Tyler) who may as well have been twirling a moustache. That’s not a spoiler, since you’d have to be absolutely clueless not to pick him out from the start. He’s that obvious.
Pablo Schreiber (Orange Is the New Black) plays Sawyer’s longtime friend and colleague, his two kids are cast perfectly and played convincingly by McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell, and there’s one underused “enemy,” Xia, awesomely depicted by Hannah Quinlivan.
Neve Campbell (Scream, Party of Five) nicely rounds out the cast as Sawyer’s wife and a (pretty badass) Navy surgeon.
I’m sorry, did you say Neve Campbell?
That’s right, Canadian actor Neve Campbell, who’s been out of the picture for a while, returns to the fray here. It feels like eons since we last saw Campbell, and she looks almost exactly the same. Though action was never her forte, she manages to do as much as she can with this script. She even does her own version of the Bryce Dallas Howard Jurassic World high-heels sprint.
So what’s the bottom line?
Skyscraper is by no means reinventing the wheel. It is the typical summer action movie, starring your favourite action hero. The story goes A-B-C without any of that bothersome filler, and delivers exactly what audiences are seeking: a simple story with an easy-to-follow premise and enough charisma from Johnson to win at the box office.
‘Skyscraper’ is now screening in theatres across Canada.