2019-03-15 14:35


After life as an FBI Hostage Rescue Team Leader takes an unexpected turn, Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) spends his time running safety assessments for skyscrapers. Fortune seems to be in his favour when he is given the chance to do a safety assessment of the world’s tallest and safest building in the world - The Pearl in Hong Kong. Things go wrong when the building catches fire and he’s been blamed for it. Fending off a variety of different groups out to get him, Will needs to clear his name, figure out what’s happened and rescue his family who is trapped inside the building above the fire line - no matter what it takes.  


When I first heard the name Skyscraper (prior to seeing the trailer), I had my doubts about just how much could be done when the main plot element of a movie is basically just a really tall building. But you add that and 118 kg, 1.9 metre-tall Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, some explosions and goddamn do you have yourself a blockbuster.

Personally, I tend to avoid the naked machismo and gratuitous CGI use (read Rampage) that characterises much of Johnson’s movies these days but in all honesty, Skyscraper gets it right. 

Where Rampage’s infrastructure-destroying action (a Johnson staple) felt contrived and predictable, the action sequences and the consequent suspense that is created in Skyscraper is actually pretty well done. Sure, we all know how the movie is going to end but its the bits in the middle that surprise you that actually make this different from your generic Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson blockbuster.

With most of the action taking place in Hong Kong, best believe that there had to be a badass Asian female character (not played by Scarlett Johansson) and an intense Asian paragon figure and Skyscraper does not disappoint. Yeah, these tropes may be overdone but the explosions and the fact that Will is doing all these crazy things while wearing Oxfords makes you forget about all of that. This movie is endlessly bro-friendly. 

The story itself, however, is quite basic and feels duct-taped (we’ll come back to duct tape later) together in certain places. If you’ve seen the trailer you’d know that Will Sawyer (Johnson) is an amputee. The way he comes to be this way, and the subsequent use of his disability is one such instance where a plot device just feels kind of arbitrary. By no means does this movie have an enabling message nor does it pretend to or attempt to but it does somehow manage to not come off crass and insensitive either. Sure you’re constantly reminded that he is an amputee, so his stunts seem more epic, but only slightly. His character could have had acrophobia and we would have had a totally different movie on our hands. 

What the movie lacks for in depth (his entire family background is covered in one incredibly short scene), it makes up for in edge-of-your-seat and a few laugh out loud moments. You know how when people watch football and they see their team nearly score a goal and their body unconsciously jumps and reacts to the visuals? Well, that’s kind of what happens a few times in this (literally) gravity-defying, bullet-spraying, fire-spitting, high-swinging movie.   

A few things did bother me however, it must be said, including the fact that the bad guy’s accent is untraceable but his surname is South African (Botha). They never do adequately deal with that. We need answers. Also, why are the bad people’s plans so intricate so as to involve a former FBI, US military veteran all-around badass? Seriously? Nobody, (preferably not military-trained and 6 ft 4) in Hong Kong can do safety assessments? The fact that Will is an absolute hulk of a man is also lazily explained away within minutes of the film. That being said, even these misgivings don’t necessarily detract from the overall entertainment value.  

One of the funniest running bits of the movie deals with Will’s creative use of duct tape in various situations. Doctors, engineers and high-rise window cleaners alike will be surprised that their specialised equipment cannot compete with the sheer versatility that is duct tape. Proof that where there is a Will (and duct tape) there is a way.

For making me feel completely engrossed by the action and surprising me in a few key moments (this hardly happens with these types of movies), I give Skyscraper - the most expensive duct tape advert ever made - a respectable 3 out of 5 stars. 

Read more on:    dwayne johnson  |  movie review  |  skyscraper

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