Jacob Richardson | 18/07/2018
Absolutely insane, but endlessly loveable, Skyscraper is as wholly unbelievable as it’s gigantic centrepiece tower. There’s just one thing: you’ll love it so much, you won’t care.
Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) is an ex-FBI and special ops agent who, after having half of his leg blown off in a tragic standoff, starts a security company. He’s invited to confirm the safety and security measures of the world’s largest structure, The Pearl, by its owner and designer, Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han). Alas, what he doesn’t realise is that he has walked into a trap, as sinister forces try to steal sensitive information from Ji. They set the 225 storey building alight. Even worse? His family is trapped halfway up, and Sawyer has to find a way to not only bust back into the building, but to save his trapped family from the raging inferno and the tactical assassin team in the building.
Skyscraper, directed by Rawson Marshall-Thurber, makes 100% no sense. That should be stated clearly and upfront, because every little element - from the films overreliance on the adhesive power of duct tape to Sawyers improbable crane ascendance speed - is balls to the wall insane.
There is also limited to no intrigue around the characters. Every character motivation is broad brush splashed onto the screen with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. It makes caring for these characters difficult, but also makes the surprise of their actions almost non-existent - we know what is coming next at almost every turn in the gamut of human action. It speaks to the quality of the script, which is undoubtedly poor, and the inability of Marshall-Thurber to direct it properly.
Which makes it extremely lucky that the film has two wildcards up its sleeve. The first, is the action. Marshall-Thurber does do action well, and here he manages to get us to suspend our disbelief in even the most unlikely of scenarios. It will have your heart leaping into your throat every time The Rock falls from the building, or jumps between turbines.
The second is the man himself, Dwayne Johnson. Johnson, as he has in so many films before, carries this movie with his mountain of charisma and charm. He is the beating heart of the movie, and makes it enjoyable and watchable even when the script or the characters around him fail him. It’s yet another reminder that he is a great actor, and it is one that makes you long for him to pick better material than this.
While somewhat lacking in character development and a strong villain, if you are happy to suspend your disbelief (and suspend it you'll have to, when you find out where the fail safe for the security system is located), Skyscraper is an absolute tonne of fun; exhilarating, insane and utterly, completely bonkers. Not to mention, a successful advertising campaign for the myriad uses of duct tape.