by Greg Vellante

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday July 11, 2018


"Skyscraper" is a pretty mediocre and lukewarm dinner served with three of the best cocktails you'll ever have. You have to chew through over 30 minutes of tedious setup and cringy dialogue to arrive at the first drink, but damn it, it's a good one, and the following two libations are equally enjoyable to imbibe.

This ludicrous story follows a man with the generic-action-hero moniker of Will Sawyer, played by Dwayne Johnson in his second blockbuster of the year (following the very fun "Rampage," which found him battling giant animals in Chicago). "Skyscraper" zips us east to Hong Kong, where the tallest skyscraper in the world towers above the skyline, prepared to open for residential housing in the near future. All it needs is a professional safety assessment from Sawyer, a retired FBI Hostage Team Leader and war vet, who is living the high life with his wife, Sarah (Neve Campbell), and twins, Georgia and Henry (McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell), in one of the residential rooms of the skyscraper. But, of course, stuff goes wrong and some bad guys set the 96th floor on fire. That's all you really need to know.

"Skyscraper" is a movie all about getting from point A to point B in the most ridiculous ways possible. It's a cinematic mix of parkour and a Rube Goldberg machine -- a film that asks itself, "Is it humanly possible for a man to climb a construction crane 100 stories then leap off of it into the burning skyscraper next door?," then says, "Who the fuck cares?" and makes it happen anyway. And it's all to our benefit.

The high points of "Skyscraper" are, not too surprisingly, its literal high points. The first true shot of adrenaline is Johnson's daring leap from crane to skyscraper, a sequence marketed heavily in the film's advertising campaign. The second is a nail-biting scaling of the skyscraper's glass and steel siding that brought about recollections of the excellently-crafted Brad Bird skyscraper sequence in 2011's "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol." The climax is set in a high-tech dome atop the skyscraper, where hundreds of high definition televisions sprouting from the floor resemble the final mirror sequences in films like Orson Welles' "The Lady from Shanghai" (1947) and last year's "John Wick: Chapter Two."

These three sequences are all admittedly spectacular and, at times, truly unnerving (those with a fear of heights will be in anguish), but they're within the confines of a forgettable, commonplace three-act-structure thriller that can't escape its shoddy scripting, sloppy direction, and hammy acting. We've seen countless films like it before, but these specific sequences of CGI vertigo are new and fresh and fun. Some may argue that the film is worth it for these thrills alone, even if you do have to swallow poorly-written exposition and cheesy one-liners in between. The three drinks are admittedly delicious but mixed with the meal itself the entire experience fails to go down easy.


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