SKYSCRAPER

SKYSCRAPER poster
Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson), a former war vet and FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader, evaluates security for skyscrapers. While assessing China's tallest and safest high-tech structure, fire erupts and he is blamed for starting it. A desperate Will must clear his name and rescue his family, trapped in the blazing building where they are staying. Some bad guys get in the way.

Brainless action dominates this derivative thriller. Dwayne Johnson grins and grimaces his way through an array of outlandish stunts, assisted by
one-liners and duct tape (who knew this amazing product could help a person maneuver around the outside of a building - high above ground). His character has a prosthetic leg, courtesy of a tragic hostage situation years before, that's useful in many ways. Mr. Johnson's star power and special effects carry this mash-up of several popular films. Essentially, it's "The Towering Inferno" with a helping of "Die Hard". Director/writer Rawson Marshall Thurber ("We're the Millers") leaves little time to make any sense out of what's happening on screen. To his credit, the movie delivers exactly what the trailer promises. Fans of Johnson and this genre will be satisfied. Everyone else should stay home - unless you crave a little entertainment with no thinking required. All of the cast members do their best to raise the bar. Neve Campbell occasionally takes the focus off of the star as Will's wife Sarah, the surgeon who saved his life after the hostage tragedy. Tours of duty in Afghanistan make her tough enough to not need rescuing as much as their young twins Georgia (McKenna Roberts) and Henry (Noah Cottrell). Chin Han ably portrays Zhao Long Ji, the wealthy builder and penthouse dweller of the imperiled high-rise. Roland Møller has the villainous role of international gangster Kores Botha, who will stop at nothing to complete his mission. The stock characters also include Sawyer's buddy Ben (Pablo Schreiber), baffled Police Inspector Wu (Byron Mann) and kick-butt female assassin Xia (Hannah Quinlivan). Filmed in Hong Kong and British Columbia, this mostly CG fest gets some help from cinematographer Robert Elswit and composer Steve Jablonsky's rousing score. Unfortunately, much of the mayhem elicits laughter at the wrong moments. "Skyscraper" reaches for the stars but slowly burns out. (2/5 CAMS)


Rated PG-13 (sequences of gun violence and action, and for brief strong language)
Running Time: 102 minutes

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