By Aaron Potter
It’s implausible, silly, and schlocky on the surface, but damn is watching The Rock make an impossible jump exhilarating cinema.
Is there anything Dwayne Johnson can’t do? Swim-suiting up to bring Baywatch back, completing Jumanji, and saving the world from super-sized megabeasts in Rampage are only the latest of his onscreen achievements. Now, with his latest blockbuster, mortal man is being pitted against space-reaching structure in true Die Hard fashion.
Skyscraper certainly owes a lot to the campy action flicks of the late eighties and early nineties, but in doing so reminds fans that cinema is best when used as a source of escapism. It’s implausible, silly, and schlocky on the surface, but damn is watching The Rock make an impossible jump exhilarating cinema.
By now we’ve come to expect that the wrestling-icon-turned-Hollywood-superstar plays by his own laws of physics, but despite his size and strength he still carries the charisma of a trustworthy everyman you can fully believe in. Here Johnson stars as former FBI Rescue Team leader, war veteran, and amputee Will Sawyer who now assesses the safety of skyscrapers for a living - that well-worn cliché - all while doing whatever it takes to keep his family safe. It isn’t long before things don’t quite to plan with the building soon catching alight as the centre of a major terrorist plot.
The kicker here is that the skyscraper in question happens to be the tallest, most technologically advanced in the world, and now the setting for pulse-pounding set pieces. Whether expertly timing a jump through helicopter rotor blades, holding a bridge together with his bare hands, or taking down terrorists with John Wick levels of efficiency, Skyscraper isn’t afraid to dip into video game territory to deliver its thrills. But if there’s one downfall to this, it’s the choppy dialogue and all too predictable plot points.
The major climactic set pieces are not only telegraphed but sadly spoiled by the trailers. But despite that, they’re still exciting to see played out on the big screen. Neve Campbell isn’t afraid to get in on the action as Johnson’s wife, Sarah. Thrown into danger and stepping up to match her husband’s heroics as the brains to back up his brawn. She’s strong-willed, determined, and much more than a princess in need of rescuing. It’s certainly worth noting how refreshing it is to see a film that takes inspiration from old school action take such a forward-thinking approach.
Skyscraper won’t win any awards for its character development or storytelling, but it would snap up the prize for reminding us of the good old days of action movies where the stars were big and the disasters they’d face even bigger! The Rock once again takes popcorn fun to the max with an out and out summer spectacle that’s well worth seeing.