Skyscraper

The Rock in a hard place
Verdict: 
6/10 - As long as you are willing to suspend belief in physics for two hours, Skyscraper is acceptable action viewing. 
Written by: 

Skyscraper follows a former FBI agent who must rescue his family from a newly-built skyscraper after it is taken over by terrorists.

6

If you think Skyscraper looks like a cross between The Towering Inferno and Die Hard, you'd be about right.

Written and directed by Central Intelligence helmer Rawson Marshall Thurber, this disaster/action film follows protagonist Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson), a war veteran and former FBI hostage team leader (just like pretty much every one of his characters), who had part of his leg amputated following a failed rescue mission.

A decade after his accident, Sawyer is working as a skyscraper security assessor and living in a newly-built tower in Hong Kong known as The Pearl along with his wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) and two children, son Henry (Noah Cottrell) and daughter Georgia (McKenna Roberts).

While the high-tech structure, built by billionaire businessman Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han) is meant to be impenetrable, Sawyer isn't entirely convinced and, of course, within mere minutes of the film starting, the building is set ablaze by terrorists led by Kores Botha (Roland Moller).

After fighting off triad members - organised by beautiful baddie Xia (Hannah Quinlivan) - who want a special tablet granting access to all of the building's IT systems, Sawyer discovers that his family is still inside the burning building and turns his attention to a rescue mission.

Transformers: The Last Knight



The rest of the plot unfolds in a fairly predictable way, with the single-minded hero performing a series of death-defying stunts to get inside the burning superstructure.

Though the action is well-paced and genuinely nerve-wracking, the director relies on the audience's willingness to suspend belief entirely, including a sequence of Sawyer scaling a crane while eluding a SWAT team, and launching himself at the tower in a move that defies the laws of physics.

Going back to his days as The Rock, Johnson has built his name as a strongman, but even the most ardent of wrestling fans will find it difficult to believe that the muscly star is capable of pulling himself out of a precarious position simply by channelling his energy into the tips of his index fingers.

Unlike, say, Bruce Willis' John McClane or Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt, there's not a time when it feels as if the situation is out of Sawyer's control, and he barely breaks a sweat throughout the film's 102-minute duration.

While the action borders on the most ridiculous, the scenes are well shot and the CGI is crisp and convincing.

As Sarah, Campbell makes a welcome addition to the cast and brings a sense of motherly warmth to the part as well as sufficient fighting skills.

Unfortunately, the rest of the cast is mostly reduced to stereotypes, with Han's character having very little to do, and Noah Taylor's Mr. Pierce ending up as a one-dimensional villain. It's also a shame that the local cast wasn't roped in more, considering the film's setting.

However, if watching The Rock navigate a hard place sounds like your type of viewing, Skyscraper is perfectly acceptable popcorn fodder.

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