Skyscraper Review: The must-see edge of your seat action movie of the year has arrived.
Skyscraper stars Dwayne Johnson as Will Sawyer, an FBI hostage negotiator that ends up seriously injured after a rescue mission goes awry. Determined not to let the incident define his life, Will takes a job designing security systems all over the world including one for The Pearl, the tallest skyscraper in the world. With his wife and two children in tow, Will travels to China to assess their security system before The Pearl’s grand opening. Unfortunately, The Pearl ends up on fire, and Will is rumored to be the prime suspect. Can Will clear his name and save his family before his entire life goes up in flames?
Dwayne Johnson is a rock star. Incredibly charismatic and likable, Johnson has become one of the most sought-after actors in the world. Over a span of seventeen years, Johnson has taken on so many different roles and genres including comedy, action, and drama. Hell, he even has his own hit HBO series, Ballers. So, even though he may have had a few hiccups along the way (*cough* Baywatch *cough*), there is no denying that Dwayne Johnson is a bona fide movie star and one that is here to stay.
As Will Sawyer, Johnson becomes a modern day action superstar. We already knew that Johnson is great in action movies because we’ve all seen him in the Fast and the Furious franchise but Skyscraper elevates him to a whole new level. Will Swayer is like John McClane, John Wick, and John J. Rambo rolled into one. Johnson embraces the material and owns it. He knows exactly what type of movie this is and isn’t afraid to go along for the ride.
Reuniting with writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber, Dwayne Johnson is the perfect choice to play Will. I would like to believe that since Thurber worked with Johnson before, he wrote this script with Johnson in mind. Thurber’s script is incredibly farfetched, but that is all part of the fun. The film plays as a homage to the great action movies that I grew up with; films like Die Hard, The Towering Inferno, and several other high-concept action movies that studios just don’t make anyone. This is a throwback to the good old days of action movies where the story was simple because action movies didn’t always need a complex storyline. They are supposed to big, loud, entertaining, and fun which is precisely what Skyscraper is.
Even though this is Dwayne Johnson’s movie, Thurber makes sure that Johnson isn’t the only highlight. Acting alongside Johnson is Neve Campbell who plays Sarah, Will’s wife. Unlike the vast majority of male-lead action flicks, Sarah is no damsel in distress. She plays a significant role in how the story plays out and isn’t just waiting around for Will to save her. Campbell kicks some serious ass throughout the film and kudos to Thurber for casting her in this role because I didn’t expect it. Campbell hasn’t been in a lot as of late, but this is easily her best role since the original Scream.
In addition to Johnson and Campbell, Skyscraper features a handful of secondary characters. Of these characters, the only ones that I feel are worth mentioning are Henry (Noah Cottrell) and Georgia (McKenna Roberts) who play the kids of Sarah and Will. While I wouldn’t say that Roberts or Cottrell are spectacular, I do think they did a great job especially knowing that they never acted before. The villains, on the other hand, are very cartoon-like and came across as wooden. The villains were only menacing when they kept their mouths shut. I do, however, want to point out that Thurber used a lot of Asian actors which was great to see since the story does take place in Hong Kong after all.
Just like the great action movies of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, Skyscraper is all about pushing the limits and upping the ante. Watching Will climb a crane to get to the top of the Pearl is beyond ridiculous but I was rooting for him and having a total blast every step of the way. The more over the top the scenes become, the more enjoyable the experience is for the viewer. Thurber uses the height of the Pearl to build suspense and really plays on the idea of the viewer being scared of heights. I am not someone who normally fears heights, but some of the shots in this film made my heart race. Thurber creates a world of being trapped up in the sky with nowhere else to go but down.
Skyscraper reminds audiences how much fun action movies can and should be. It is an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride that kept me engaged from beginning to end. I can’t remember the last time that I had this much fun watching an action movie that wasn’t part of a huge franchise. Skyscraper feels exactly like what is missing from the action genre today, and I am glad to see that Johnson has the potential to be a part of his own franchise. As clichéd as it may be to say this, I highly recommend seeing Skyscraper on the biggest screen possible as it will only add to the experience. Skyscraper is an action-packed extravaganza that is sure to delight action movie fans young and old.