I’m going to be straight with you – whenever I see Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson billed on a movie poster, I hardly expect Citizen Kane 2: The Kanening. I do, however, expect him to probably wear a silly lobster costume and rugby tackle a waiter, in a mildly-smirk-worthy moment.
I know I’m sounding cruel, but – in reality – I fucking love the man. Heck, I tag Dwayne Johnson in every other post I write on Twitter, just in the fleeting hope he’ll share it and I’ll become a Twitter Moment. (I will bet you £50 that I’ll share this review and tag him in it calling him a “pure beef-cake” or something.)
Sadly, Skyscraper hasn’t really redeemed The Rock, in my eyes, for Jumanji. Y’know, that film I seemingly hated, yet the rest of the entire planet loved enough to warrant making two more films. I swear, the Cineworld I went to was the only one not pumping laughing gas through the vents during the screening of.
Skyscraper follows Dwayne Johnson’s Will Sawyer, a police agent whose leg was blown off during an explosion and has since gone on to start up his own security company. If I had just started my company in protection of assets, I’d probably opt for being a security guard at my local Poundland. At the moment, they literally use cardboard cut-outs of coppers to deter thieves. Meanwhile, ever-the-optimist, Dwayne, ventured to examine the security for the world’s tallest super building, The Pearl. Makes sense, really.
It’s here that things start to go wrong – because if they didn’t, that would be a really boring film. A group of terrorists take over the building, in an attempt to steal the founder’s pen drive, and destroy it. (I can’t remember – it either had important data on it, or Jumanji 2. Either way, I’m really not fussed if they wreck that USB.) Of course, rather than just taking the pen drive, they decide to set fire to the entire building, where Dwayne’s wife and two children are living. I assume they’re the only ones living in this building because of, erm… Surely there has to be better reasons other than “the script needed it”. Nope. That’s the only reason I can think of.
Whilst trying to save his family from the towering inferno, Dwayne is faced with a series of villains. And if you wanted a description of them, just ask anyone with a very basic grasp of the English language to describe a movie baddy to you. These are the actual bad guys in Skyscraper:
- Dwayne’s old friend and ex-colleague, forced into betraying him, because some mobster sorts will break him. I don’t really know; he was on the screen for three minutes. Does he matter?
- A woman who gets her haircut at Emos R Us and wears entirely leather. Why do baddies always wear leather? I wear leather sometimes, and I’m a little bitch. Oh, and she also doesn’t flinch from bullets, because apparently they don’t really hurt.
- One of the board members of the skyscraper, who has floppy hair, wears well-tailored suits and has a dodgy British accent. Because if the likes of Bob Geldof, Ian McKellen and JK Rowling have taught us anything – Brits are evil.
- A European-sounding terrorist, with scruffy facial hair and tattoos. He will only wear vests because he doesn’t spend all week doing arm-day to not show them off.
Don’t panic, however. Skyscraper breaks the trend by throwing in plenty of disposable goons who, despite being military trained, and are all armed with state-of-the-art weapons, can’t get up with a small child. I – I don’t even know what’s going on either anymore.
Of course, it’s not all bad. Characters aside, Dwayne Johnson is a fantastic casting for the movie. He is destined to be the next great action star, like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jackie Chan. (I wanted to compare him to Bruce Willis, but if I did that during a review of Skyscraper, I’d be afraid Die Hard would come spit on me just for making the two movies sound even more similar than they already do.) Dwayne has the charisma to make you root for him throughout, and during the very occasional comedic lines he gets, he does make the audience laugh.
Which brings me on to my next point. Dwayne Johnson literally did a movie where he played the Tooth Fairy. Johnson has comedic timing (even if the movie where he played the Tooth Fairy wasn’t that funny.) In a movie that tries to pay homage to classic action romps, it seems odd that there’s very little funny moments, and instead tries to rely on – frankly – shit catchphrases. At one point, while Dwayne’s wrapping up his wounds in tape, he says to himself something like “If duct tape don’t fix it, you ain’t using enough duct tape”. I can’t see anyone, but a stationery salesman, buying that on a t-shirt.
Again, I appreciate you have to take action films with a pinch of salt, but I had to take so much with Skyscraper, I nearly had a cardiac arrest. (Maybe it was the salt pinching; or maybe it was the three cheeseburgers I had before the screening. Who knows?) If I was Dwayne, I’d invest in several rabbits’ feet, because that guy has some seriously unfortunate luck. At one point, plants not only catch on fire; they actually explode on him. And after several hours of this super-building burning to the ground, how is the movie resolved? By someone turning the sprinklers on. I could go into great depth as to why that’s wrong, but I won’t. I fear that if I do, I’ll set fire to something, and I don’t have a small gentle sprinkle of water to put out the engulfing blaze.
At the end of the day, Dwayne’s a bloody legend, and watching him is always going to be enjoyable; especially watching him in a role he was born to do – the full-out action star. It’s a pity that this film a very basic paint-by-numbers version; as if the director read a ‘How To Make An Action Movie… For Dummies’ book. Personally, I’d suggest watching Die Hard again, if you’re a true fan of action movies. Or, I’d suggest watching Skyscraper if you’re a true fan of duct tape.