It’s hard to know where to begin to talk about Skyscraper, but the best way I can sum it up is this: if you’re a fan of the Rock, you’ll likely enjoy it. The movie shares several traits with star Dwayne Johnson, whose character Will Sawyer – a security consultant with a prosthetic leg and impossible upper body strength – must go to death-defying lengths to save his family from the title 240-story building.
But before we dive into those comparisons, let’s talk about the story. Skyscraper is primarily set in, well, a skyscraper – the pride and joy of Hong Kong developer Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han), standing three times taller than the Empire State Building. Former FBI operative Will Sawyer has been hired to evaluate the security of “The Pearl” – the residential upper half of the building – before it opens to tenants. However, soon after taking the job, Sawyer and his family find themselves living a nightmare in this dream of a building: terrorists deliberately set fire to the place to get their hands on a mysterious item locked away in the billionaire’s penthouse on top.
Will has to break into the burning building to save his combat-surgeon wife (Neve Campbell, who is delightful here) and twins, and as one might imagine, chaos and improbable stunts ensue.
Now that we have the basics covered, let’s go back to talking about the Rock (one of my favorite pastimes). Much like its charismatic star, Skyscraper is:
This is first and foremost an action movie, and the stunts are definitely worth the price of admission. Whether he’s scaling a 100-story construction crane and then leaping across a 40-foot chasm to climb through an open window, creeping along ledges with only duct tape and a lone rope for support, or jumping through massive turbines, Johnson makes the epic (and in most cases, physically impossible) stunts so much fun to watch. As if the fire and heights weren’t enough, there are also impressive combat scenes throughout, including the exciting finale in The Pearl’s custom-designed VR space. Oh, and did I mention Johnson is doing all of this with a prosthetic leg?
I’ll be honest, I was stressed out watching this movie. The action and tension are a lot to handle. But just like the Rock, here we have a good amount of levity, too. Will and his wife Sarah (Campbell) have a lot of fun banter, and there are a few of those so-bad-they’re-good action movie lines. You know just the kind I’m talking about – and they’re welcome when things are getting a little too intense.
I mean, have you seen the Rock? As much as I could wax poetic about the rugged good looks of Dwayne Johnson, what I really want to talk about here is the look of Skyscraper. The building itself is stunning – all curves and elegance, with a 10-story or so park in the middle and beautifully appointed rooms (not to mention the view). Director Rawson Marshall Thurber makes good use of the building and its imposing height to make the stunts all the more epic and to induce some serious vertigo. If you’re afraid of heights, just take that into consideration.
Full of Heart
Skyscraper isn’t just an epic, beat-’em-up action movie. Just like Dwayne Johnson, it has a heart of gold. In the midst of all the improbable action and the larger than life setting, you can’t help but care about the Sawyer family. The relationships between Will, Sarah, and their twins are so loving and solid, and you root for them to be safely reunited at the end of the day. The Rock’s charisma and winning personality carry you through as a viewer, making you believe that everything will be alright in the end.
This film is pure escapism, which is exactly what I for one crave from a summer movie. Take a break from the fiery heat outside and enjoy the AC while you watch this one play out onscreen. Warm feelings from watching the Rock killing it in yet another starring role may apply.
Skyscraper hits theaters this Friday, July 13.
Featured Image via IndieWire