“Skyscraper” Theatrics Prove Too Lofty For The Film’s Own Good


As a member of the last generation to physically remember 9/11 (I was 5 years old), “Skyscraper” — a film about heights, fire and borderline terrorism — made me squeamish for half the runtime. As an intern now on my fifth week at a corporate law firm, all the damage inflicted on this fictional skyscraper made me wonder if any sane investor would want to rebuild this behemoth. As someone who went to high school, the bending of basic principles of physics made me chuckle.

“Skyscraper” is your average disaster film, led dutifully by the archetypical superman, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The Rock plays Will Sawyer, a former FBI agent who was injured in combat and now works as an independent safety consultant for construction projects. He travels to Hong Kong with his wife (Neve Campbell) and two children to assess the safety standards of the world’s tallest skyscraper, which was financed by an eccentric billionaire, Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han). Zhao’s old enemies come back to haunt him and set fire to the skyscraper while Will’s family are inside. Predictably, The Rock (I’m not even going to call him Will, he’s just The Rock) goes to save his family.

This film is for a certain type of person, a person who loves disaster films and the hero saving the day through several seemingly impossible feats. You know most of what will happen going into it and don’t expect a groundbreaking plot; you just go to enjoy watching The Rock be a live-action Prince of Persia as he dodges whirring blades, falling objects and jumps across ridiculous distances. At times, it feels like watching a P90x workout on steroids conducted several thousand feet in the air but with screaming kids held hostage in the background.

It was an interesting choice depicting The Rock as having a disability. I’m not sure how much this does for representation, considering that it certainly doesn’t feel as if he’s impaired in any way by the loss of a leg because, well, he’s The Rock. Upper body is all that matters. I’d call it inspiring were it not for the fact that The Rock is completely able-bodied and he shot the film as such.

There were the obvious plot holes and then the not-so-obvious ones that only boring people like myself in finance would notice (for example, how on earth is a multibillion-dollar contract being assessed by a guy running a company out of his garage?), but you know what you’re coming in for when you go to see this thing. You’re not there for it to make sense. You’re there to enjoy the explosions.

Unless you just adore The Rock doing pull-ups with his fingertips, I recommend waiting for this one on Netflix. While the film is sleek, well-constructed and ticks all the boxes, you will probably forget about it 20 minutes later and it’s not necessary to pay $15 to go see it.


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