Thursday, 12 July 2018

Skyscraper: Film Review


Skyscraper: Film Review



Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, a burning building, Roland Moller
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Skewing towards memories of The Towering Inferno and Die Hard, but with an eye very much on the cheesy and disastrous, Skyscraper sees the Rock toning down some of his more natural elements for a PG13 audience.
Skyscraper: Film Review

Johnson is Will Sawyer, a former FBI Team Leader who lost the lower half of his leg when a hostage negotiation went wrong. Now assessing skyscrapers for security, Sawyer and his family are taken to Hong Kong to look at a new building, The Pearl.

However, when terrorists (led by Moller's timidly snarling Kores Botha) strike, Sawyer has to find his inner strength to save the day.

It's fair to say Skyscraper is a solid piece of entertainment, aimed squarely at the blockbuster crowd, but yet somehow doesn't quite manage to leap its problems as high as it should.

Johnson dials down his usual charisma, trying to aim more for an average Joe who's had obstacles to overcome and who's now trying to save his family. However, he carries out such super-human feats of strength (climbing a massive crane, running off the edge of said crane and powering into a building, holding a bridge together) that the everyman appeal is lost very early on.
Skyscraper: Film Review

Equally, the potential over the leg loss for empowerment which was promised in the initial trailers seems to have been sidelined for some kind of hanging-by-a-leg moment that seems more than a tad misjudged.

Whereas films like the aforementioned Tower and Die Hard saw ordinary people having to do extraordinary things, there's never really any question of The Rock caving, even though he takes a beating a few times during it. His earnestness only gets him so far, as the bloodless violence and gunplay escalates.

Campbell's solid, very much his equal (something Hollywood's suddenly more keen to show), giving her former army surgeon the pluck needed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him when necessary, even if the inability to use an iPhone seems to be more a narrative necessity than character trait.

In among the incessant dark swirling shots circling the tower on fire with CGI flames, Thurber muddies a lot of the sequences with the dark, meaning the vertiginous shots lose their head-dizzying ability early on.
Skyscraper: Film Review

It's not that Skyscraper is a roaring success, but its deep-dive more into bland rote schlockbuster territory than enticing, enthralling suspense squanders its promise and potential. It may aim for the sky, but it scrapes the bottom a little too often than is liked, with dialogue that borders on cult material, but holds back.

Ultimately, that's the biggest problem with Skyscraper - in its quest to satiate a PG13 audience and censor, it's neither one thing nor the other. It's certainly not a Towering inferno by any stretch, but its desire to not embrace what it could be, and its commitment to bland action fare means it's more a flicker than a flaming roar.

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