Saturday, December 15, 2018



I remember when I first saw a trailer for this movie. It was during the Super Bowl. This was odd, because it wasn't a movie that I (or probably anyone, for that matter) had heard of prior to that. It wasn't exactly a big/highly anticipated movie--which is normally what you expect to see when it comes to Super Bowl trailers. And that trailer... well, it made an impression, though I'm not entirely sure it was a good one. On one hand, it had Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock in it, who's about as charismatic an action movie star as they come even if he's not in very many actually good movies. On the other hand, it also included jumping at least 50 feet from a crane into a giant skyscraper. Not exactly grounded in reality, right? Well, we didn't know it at the time (if memory serves, anyway), but it gets better: he's making that run and leap with a prosthetic leg. 

Somehow I think even the Fast and Furious movies would be raising their eyebrows at such an impossible stunt. But I will give that trailer credit for one thing: it left no doubt in the viewer's mind about what kind of movie it was, for better or for worse. It was a dumb action movie. And based on that preview, the only kind of positive expectations that could be placed on this movie would be that The Rock would make it at least watchable. As previously mentioned, he's a pretty doggone fun action star. 

So what exactly is this movie about, besides being about Dwayne Johnson making an impossible jump from a crane to a skyscraper with a prosthetic leg? Well, the focus is this skyscraper, which The Rock's character--Will Sawyer, a former FBI hostage squad guy--is hired to do a security check for. And this skyscraper, located in Hong Kong, is the tallest ever--taller than even the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. And just on that very day that Sawyer and his family are visiting for the security check and the building is almost ready to be opened to the public--guess what happens? Terrorists attack. Set the building ablaze. With Sawyer's family still in it. While Sawyer is outside of said building. Cue dumb action movie. (And yeah, the plot has been compared to Die Hard.) 

Sadly, there's hardly anything good about this movie. There's a couple of decent fistfights, but most of the action revolves around The Rock doing impossible stunts or people shooting at each other (and being terrible aims). And there are so many tired cliches that are used in this thing--namely, kidnapping good guy's family and threatening the hero--that the storyline just gets annoying. And as previously mentioned, most of the action just isn't that great. Probably the most interesting part is a scene in a hall of mirrors/projections (similar to John Wick: Chapter 2), but even that isn't all that well executed. 

As for the infamous skyscraper jump scene? The good news is, the long jump was *not* Sawyer's original plan. But it still becomes the plan out of necessity. The bad news is... that jump is not even the most unbelievable thing that Sawyer does in this movie. There's a part later where he has to scale down part of the on-fire building and get through some turbines (don't ask why, I already forgot) and get back up. It may not sound that different from Tom Cruise's scaling of the Burj Khalifa in Mission: Impossible 4, but the difference is he had more proper equipment, and the building wasn't on fire and structurally unsound. Sawyer does not have the proper equipment, and the building is on fire and structurally unsound. The result is probably one of the least plausible action scenes you'll see all year. 

Skyscraper is about as good as you were probably expecting--which is to say, not good at all. Unfortunately, even The Rock can't save this. It doesn't help that there is no one else of note on the cast list. Again, though, if you saw the trailers, you probably knew this wouldn't be any good regardless. If you're wanting to see an action film this year staring The Rock, you should stick with Rampage instead. 

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