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Review by William Bibbiani

Skyscraper Review

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Dwayne Johnson and Neve Campbell star in a big, dumb and extremely entertaining riff on Die Hard and The Towering Inferno.

Over the course of his career Dwayne Johnson has fought Jason Statham, Vin Diesel, a giant wolf, a giant alligator, the forces of Cobra, and the world’s biggest earthquake, but in Skyscraper he may have finally met his match. Sure, he’ll take on a giant building full of bad guys and make it look relatively easy, but will he really be able to compete with memory of Die Hard? The answer… might surprise you.

Skyscraper follows Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson), a disabled former FBI Hostage Team Leader who is in the world’s largest building -- a Hong Kong skyscraper called “The Pearl” -- along with his doctor-wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) and their two charming kids when bad guys take it over and set it ablaze. With his family trapped inside, Will must use every tool at his disposal - which most of the time is only duct tape - to scale this laughably enormous monstrosity of a building and save the day.

As an action movie, Skyscraper is deliciously ludicrous, complete with action sequences that defy both logic and physics. Johnson somehow climbs a 90-story sky crane in about 10 minutes, and he’s still got plenty of energy left over to make perilous jumps and hold bridges together using the sheer unbridled power of his massive pecs. Dwayne Johnson is a big, strong guy, but Skyscraper really pushes it.

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And yet, that’s not a bug, that’s a feature. Like the later Fast & Furious movies, Skyscraper takes place in a parallel reality where crazy action is its own reward, and we accept literally anything that happens so long as we like the characters. And sure enough, we do like the Sawyer family. Dwayne Johnson shows his vulnerable side, Neve Campbell unleashes her badass side, and even the kids aren’t particularly annoying, even though one of them suffers from “Situational Asthma,” which only flares up when it’s an inconvenient plot point.

To put it another way, you pretty much are expected to turn your brain off when you’re watching Skyscraper. Very little about this movie makes sense, and even its overarching story - about a billionaire’s hubris, which leads to mayhem and tragedy - somehow manages to not to take a strong stance against that same hubris. This isn’t a movie about why it was folly to build The Tower of Babel, this is a movie about how a bunch of jerks ruined The Tower of Babel for everyone else. Skyscraper goes extremely far out of its way to not have a meaningful point, and although we can criticize its dunderheadness, you also kind of have to respect the effort.

Of course, Die Hard managed to tell a similar story with nuanced characters, intricate plotting, a small degree of plausibility and some well-illustrated themes. But although they appear similar, Skyscraper isn’t Die Hard. It’s not even The Towering Inferno. It’s a simple-minded but wildly entertaining blockbuster with obvious influences and its own, silly personality. It may not reach new heights of cinematic brilliance, but when it comes to lowbrow matinee thrills, it’s the tops.

The Verdict

Living up to the legacy of Die Hard is a tall order, and Skyscraper never reaches those heights. But it's a gigantic and silly blockbuster matinee of a movie, with likable performances, absurd action sequences, and a heck of a lot of duct tape.

Great
Dwayne Johnson & Neve Campbell star in this big, dumb and extremely entertaining riff on Die Hard and Towering Inferno.
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