Combine Die Hard & The Towering Inferno you get Skyscraper
Dwayne Johnson reteams with Central Intelligence director Rawson Marshall Thurber in the exhilarating Skyscraper from Universal Pictures. As Skyscraper opens up, we are introduced to FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) on a routine mission. Things go wrong, which results in Will losing a portion of his leg. Ten years later, Will freelances as a security expert.
Will has a chance to secure a life-changing deal while on assignment in Hong Kong accompanied by his family. His old FBI comrade, Ben (Pablo Schreiber), has arranged a meeting with Zhao (Chin Han), the owner of the world's tallest and safest building, the Pearl. In an attempt to obtain a hard drive Zhao possesses, terrorists set the Pearl ablaze. Will is framed for setting the fire. Now a wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name, and somehow rescue his family, who are trapped inside the burning building.
The action sequences in Skyscraper are impressive. I enjoyed the various stunts and obstacles that Will had to face to rescue his family. Dwayne Johnson's fight scenes will bring a smile to the faces of wrestling fans as Dwayne Johnson executes The Rock's signature moves. Given Dwayne Johnson's prior film work, I expected to see Dwayne use guns to take out the bad guys. Instead, Rawson Marshall Thurber's script has Will using his brain more than his brawn, to my surprise.
Neve Campbell, who doesn't get the credit she deserves for her prior work, is also enjoyable in Skyscraper, as Will's wife, Sarah. Instead of writing a damsel-in-distress character, Rawson Marshall Thurber fleshes out Sarah as a no-nonsense woman who will do anything to protect her family. I enjoyed the chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Neve Campbell. Throughout the film, I was rooting for the couple to reunite. Chin Han was also enjoyable as Zhao, a man so invested in his building refuses to leave it.
While Skyscraper is a great popcorn movie, the film does have a significant flaw. The villains in the film aren't memorable. The script uses a generic foreign terrorist template for the lead terrorist, Korea Botha (Roland Moller). I would've liked to see a stronger actor in the role because Rolled Moller was boring. There are also two characters in cahoots with Korea Botha, which I could predict from the film's trailer. The only villain I enjoyed in Skyscraper was the trigger-happy henchwoman Xia (Hannah Quinlivan).
Skyscraper is a film that you can just shut off your brain, sit back, watch, and enjoy the ride. Writer and director Rawson Marshall Thurber have crafted a summer movie that displays Dwayne Johnson's talent and natural charisma. To its credit, Skyscraper knows that it's harking back to the big-budget seventies' disaster flicks and the nineties' action films. Still, Skyscraper delivers all you need in a summer popcorn flick.
Final Grade B-