Written and Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Produced by: Beau Flynn, p.g.a., Dwayne Johnson, Rawson Marshall Thurber, p.g.a., Hiram Garcia, p.g.a.
Cinematographer: Robert Elswit
Composer: Steve Jablonsky
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber, Hannah Quinlivan.
Going to see an action blockbuster with Dwayne Johnson at the helm, I felt I already knew what to expect with Skyscraper.
And as advertised Skyscraper dazzles with huge effects including: a burning super tower of 225 stories and more than 3,500 feet high, giant wind turbines used as power, an internal garden thirty-stories high with waterfall and all the tech that goes into the maintenance and functioning of such a massive building all controlled by the touch of one device, a tablet operational only with the bio imprint of security consultant, former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran, Will Sawyer (Dwyane Johnson).
The film opens on an operation that goes bad, Will severely injured losing his left leg below the knee. But while getting treatment in hospital he meets his wife, Naval surgeon Dr. Sarah Sawyer (Neve Campbell).
He moves on with his life, getting married and having twins, Henry (Noah Cottrell) and Georgia (McKenna Roberts), but still struggles with his day-to-day life as an amputee.
Now consulting for the job-of-a-lifetime (thanks to his old buddy, Ben (Pablo Schreiber)) underwriting the security for the highest and most technologically advanced building in the world, Will and his family move into their new address on the edge of the Kowloon side of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour: the first residents to move into the Pearl.
We see the injured hero nervously getting ready to meet the building’s visionary creator Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han), and see the love and support of his family making it seem anything is possible, until it all turns bad when deadly assassins and bad guys’ hell-bent on revenge steal the tablet to shut off all counter-measures as a fire rages on the 96th floor – below the floor where Will’s family are trapped.
It’s amazing what Will can do to save his family: leaping off a super-crane 1,000 feet in the air, edging along a window ledge so high above ground you’d need oxygen; all believable because it’s The Rock and as always, he manages to bring you alongside with him – like the crowd below the burning building, I cheered him on.
I made a comment before heading into the cinema, wondering if the character would weaponize his prosthetic leg, and the attachment comes in handy as he escapes death again and again.
The injury also gives Will vulnerability – a different role for The Rock that forces the character, Will to overcome not only external forces but also internal as he battles his own insecurity.
And the way he overcomes each obstacle with self-deprecating, yet practical self-reliance, adds some great humour to the film – a talent writer and director, Rawson Marshall Thurber has also shown in previous films, Central Intelligence (2016) and We’re the Millers (2013).
I was also impressed with the performance from Neve Campbell as Will’s wife, Dr. Sarah Sawyer, her quiet strength making a stoic contribution, the two parents a good team in keeping their family alive.
So, if you’ve watched the trailer, you know what’s coming but you won’t be disappointed either with good action, vertigo-inducing effects and a solid story.
I won’t say my expectations were surpassed but there was some good fun here making Skyscraper a worthwhile entertainer.
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