It’s been a long time since we’ve had an adrenaline-fueled blockbuster like the good old days. The days of Die Hard, Speed, and Con-Air are long gone, and we are only left with their boisterous and over the top memory, until now. Dwayne Johnson has perfected his big action hero side with Skyscraper. Skyscraper tells the story of Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson), a former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and veteran. After he loses his leg on a mission, he retires, get married, and has two kids with his wife, Sarah (Neve Campbell). In his retirement, he finds a job assessing security for larger buildings and skyscrapers. In China, he lands a job with the biggest skyscraper in the world, The Pearl. When things go awry and the building is under attack and bursting into flames, he is blamed for it but must run from the police, clear his name, and save his family who is trapped in the building.
Skyscraper is a return to the big over the top blockbuster action films we loved in the 80s and 90s. The action in the film is crazy and over the top, but damn, does it entertain. It keeps you on the edge of your seat as Dwayne Johnson dangles over the edge of a skyscraper thousands of feet in the air. The hand to hand combat scenes were well-choreographed and were tense to watch. Neve Campbell even gets in on the action and is back in a big way. Not having seen much of her in the last few years, this is the way she needed to come back; unapologetically kick-ass as both a mother and a fighter.
Many times with these huge action films, the special and visual effects can really make or break the success of the film. In Skyscraper, the special effects are really top-notch and work well to solidify this crazy situation in which we find these characters. From Dwayne Johnson hanging off the side of a building to the multiple screens working together to create an atmosphere unlike any other while in the penthouse, we are given a treat. Every crazy scenario you can think of is shown in the film from fire to shootouts and hand to hand combat, and it is all done with stunning special effects and pyrotechnics.
With multiple villains, different locations we jump back and forth to, and some plot holes and things that could be picked apart, the film should be enjoyed for what it is. It is an in your face high octane action film that is a thrill ride from beginning to end. Much of the focus is on the action; it should be noted that there are some great scenes with Dwayne Johnson and McKenna Roberts, who plays his daughter. The emotional scenes between them hit home and round out the film. Dwayne Johnson has undoubtedly reached his prime as a big-time action hero in Skyscraper. This is what he was always meant to do.
The acting, as with all of the big action films, can be hit and miss. It should be noted that it is not the primary focus of the film. Skyscraper is an old school film where the explosions and the cheese factor are what really makes the film fun. Dwayne Johnson has quite a few scenes where he is talking to himself and being sarcastic about what he should do or what is happening around him. While they are a bit hokey, they add to the cheese factor and amp up the fun that permeates throughout the film. The main villain played by Hannah Quinlivan is fantastic in the beginning when she doesn’t talk, but once she speaks, her line delivery is a little off and awkward. She does have dazzling fight scenes where she excels, and I think they should focus their energies. The choice to add a captive audience to the film ups the ante of the fun and the fascination factor of the events and the characters. This audience mirrors and enhances our reaction to the film and makes it even more entertaining to watch. You feel as though you are a part of something fantastic.
Skyscraper is a non-stop action-filled popcorn flick. It is hokey, fun, and just plain crazy at some points, but those all work so well to create something we haven’t seen and felt in years. Skyscraper is a return to action and Dwayne Johnson’s most entertaining and spot-on performance to date. Make sure you check it out on the biggest screen possible with the loudest sound system when it hits theaters on July 13th.