Dwayne Johnson has officially become the meta titular character, Jack Slater from Last Action Hero with his slate of huge action blockbusters. Johnson’s dealings with over the top action combined with his big personality have the musings of a cross breed of early 80s action heroes. If it wasn’t clear from The Rundown, Rampage and The Fast and Furious franchise, boy howdy, does it become clear in droves with his work in Skyscraper.
The film begins with FBI agent, Will Sawyer (Johnson), in the midst of a hostage negotiation that ends with the brutal loss of one of his legs. I was curious to see how they were going to work in this wounded warrior aspect of the film when watching the preview. The truth is that outside of the fact that Sawyer meets his future lady in the form of a surgeon due to the loss of his appendage, there isn’t much else there. However, it is good to see a person with a disability being represented in this huge light. Especially, since he kicks an enormous amount of gravity and bad guy ass whilst only having the one leg.
Flash-forward to Sawyer’s new life as a security consultant and family man suddenly being disrupted by a group of terrorists attempting to pull off a 240-story heist in Hong Kong’s ‘The Pearl’. Sawyer probably would have already been all over personally dismantling this group of bad guy’s plans. But the real fuel for his fight ends up being that his family is stuck inside. This leads our faithful hero on an action-packed, tight rope-like romp through a heck of an ordeal for him and a exciting ride for a summer movie going audience.
If this sounds familiar, you aren’t wrong. Skyscraper didn’t hide the fact its mix of elements from Die Hard and Towering Inferno. They weren’t trying to hide it so much that, they came up with mock-up posters that featured Johnson in the place of Bruce Willis and Steve McQueen in their respective posters. Outside of all the things that do indeed point to a loose remake of both of those films, there is enough here to make Skyscraper its own ride. Namely, the strength behind that ability goes directly to The Rock. The bottom line is we root for this dude whatever his cinematic plight. Fast cars, overzealous video games, giant white gorillas, tall buildings? Just add this dude and bring it on.
We can all be sticklers for the physics and logic train and jump all over this film with negativity, dismissing its playful action rooted nature. But, it really understands what kind of action film it is. It makes as much sense calling out this films gravity defying as it would to point out the sky for being blue. We all get it, but it’s more advantageous to take the ride than it is to be that guy.
Skyscraper succeeds with its large compartmentalized stunt set pieces and Dwayne Johnson’s bigger than life amiable presence. A lot of these may be recycled tropes that we have seen Willis and Stallone take on in the past but it doesn’t make it any less amusing. Dwayne Johnson and Skyscraper heat things back up just at the end of summer, with its propulsive blast of big 80s throwback action that fits in nicely within The Rock’s lexicon.