Nightmarish Detour Review: SKYSCRAPER (2018)

SKYSCRAPER, the latest film from Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence), proves once and for all that nothing can stop Dwayne Johnson, not even when the tallest building in the world has caught fire with his family trapped inside. The film stars Dwayne Johnson (Rampage), Neve Campbell (Scream), Pablo Schreiber (Orange is the New Black), McKenna Roberts (Timeless), Noah Taylor (Peaky Blinders), Roland Møller (Atomic Blonde) and Chin Han (Ghost in the Shell).

After surviving a near fatal blow during a hostage take-down, Will Sawyer (Johnson) has found himself assessing security for skyscrapers. When an old friend (Schreiber) gives him an opportunity of a lifetime, Sawyer and his family head to Hong Kong where he is tasked with making sure that the tallest skyscraper in the world is safe for residents to begin moving in. However, soon after he arrives, he learns that he has been framed and what was considered to be the safest building in the world is set ablaze, with his family trapped inside. Now on the run from the law, he must find a way to rescue his family and clear his name before everything he loves perishes in the path of the fire’s destruction.

I think it’s safe to say that if you put Dwayne Johnson in a movie, I’m 100% going to be there. I fully believe that certain films should exist if only for pure entertainment, no matter how ridiculous they may seem, as a means of escaping reality for a short amount of time. In the case of SKYSCRAPER, this is exactly one of those movies where nothing is plausible, most likely every person would have died, and Dwayne Johnson has no problem jumping into a skyscraper with a prosthetic leg; and honestly, I was 100% here for it. In no way shape or form is this a film in which you are going to walk away a changed person, but it is a movie that definitely delivers in terms of entertaining the audience.

Even though SKYSCRAPER is filled to the brim with CGI, which was to be expected, there was an element to the film that I found to be really unexpected. I would not consider myself to be acrophobic (someone who is afraid of heights), UNLESS, it’s thousands of feet in the air or I’m watching a YouTube video of some insane individual performing parkour stunts. With SKYSCRAPER, a sliver of acrophobia slipped in and I found myself becoming incredibly anxious and stressed by some of the stunts that Dwayne Johnson’s character was performing. Realistically, I knew that he wasn’t dangling from the world’s tallest building, but the way in which the camera positioned certain shots, along with the relatively realistic CGI, was enough to put my brain into overdrive, so much so that I even felt a bit nauseous during some of the scenes. However, I did find that level of anxiety and stress to be exhilarating which I think helped in my overall enjoyment of the film.

As for the acting, it’s pretty on par with what one would expect from a big budget action film. Dwayne Johnson is his charming, funny, handsome self; the man who doesn’t want to harm a fly but will beat the shit out of you with his prosthetic leg if you harm his family. However, he’s not the only one kicking ass, as his wife Sarah (Campbell) shows just how capable she is of bringing down some of the bad guys. Speaking of the “bad guys”, they play their roles well, but they aren’t overly memorable as they fit into the systematic trope that they are known for. However, I will make an exception for Hannah Quinlivan, who plays Xia, as she really stood out from her counterparts and once again proved that women are perfectly adept at playing fierce villians. My only gripe is that I wish Pablo Schreiber had more screen-time, as I’ve been a fan of his for quite some time and am always excited to see his face in anything. Though his time is short in the film, he still packs quite a punch in terms of his importance to the storyline.

Overall, SKYSCRAPER isn’t a film in which you should go in with high expectations, just go in knowing you’ll have a fun time. It’s a great way to break up the monetary of the day while kicking back with friends to watch the ridiculous hijinks that ensue. As with most films that feature Dwayne Johnson, there are some heart-warming moments, but let’s be honest, we are all here to watch a character perform unrealistic stunts in a setting that would probably never happen. I do know that a lot of people are comparing this to Die Hard, and unfortunately I can’t comment on that because I have yet to see Die Hard (I know, I know, let’s not talk about it). Just go in with an open mind and zero exceptions and I’m sure you’ll have a great time. SKYSCRAPER opens everywhere on July 13th.


Shannon McGrew
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