Luke Reviews – Skyscraper

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson roars back onto the big screens in the explosive Skyscraper, a high-octane Die-Hard-esque fighting-against-the-bad-guys shoot-em-up. Not an original idea, but the plot is enhanced by the stunning visual effects, centred on the spectacular concept of the ‘skyscraper’, the centrepiece for all the action.

The Rock plays Will Sawyer, a former FBI hostage rescue team and US war veteran, who lost his leg ten years ago on a mission. Fast forward to the current day, and he’s a security expert, happily married with two cute children. His life is all good, until he is hired to review the safety features in the latest architectural feat, the state-of-the-art skyscraper called ‘The Pearl’. This meeting ends up dragging Will and his family – staying in the skyscraper temporarily – into the action after bitter and vengeful terrorist Kores Botha arrives to destroy the skyscraper in revenge against the building’s creator, Zhao Long Ji. What ensues is a breathtaking action adventure through the burning building, including incredible scaling the outside of the building, amazing jumps, and the stunning fight scenes.

Johnson leads a great cast: Neve Campbell is his wife Sarah, Pablo Schreiber plays his jealous friend Ben, Chin Han is the Skyscraper’s genius creator Zhao, Roland Moller does a great job as terrorist Botha. Supporting roles from Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Adrian Holmes and Hannah Quinlivan complete a lineup which put on genuinely great and believable performances. Usually there’s a weak one who lets you down, but the casting in this film is consistently good. The two kids that play Will Sawyer’s twin children are fantastic too – most of their role is screaming and running, but credit where it’s due – they do it well. The names McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell are going to be big if this film is anything to go by.

Skyscraper has a lot going for it. As well as the aforementioned cast, the visual effects and action are fantastic and hold the whole thing together. Those visual effects are a treat: modern Hong Kong is an amazing setting in itself, and The Pearl skyscraper is unbelievably imagined and designed on our screens. The skyscraper, unsurprisingly, is the most important part of the film Skyscraper. And it is great, and a really good location for the action that ensues.

The pace of the film is good, not once taking its foot off the gas, and the plot is well planned out to keep you engrossed in what is going on. The three or four narratives that run alongside each other work really well and the payoff at the end, when all the narratives come together, is something to be appreciated.

This film falls down in a few areas but it’s not a film to be overanalysed; it’s not perfect, but you can’t expect it to be. It has some of the classic Dwayne Johnson humour, through his charming jokey personality, but sometimes it feels stunted and out of place amongst the serious and dark action. It is funny at times but it feels awkward with everything else that’s going on. Crowds screaming and cheering The Rock successfully getting into the building? He’s been on the run from the authorities and now he’s a hero? It’s a bit bizarre. Other than this, there are things like the 2-minute climbing of a crane 100-floors high that seems silly and other little plot or logic holes like this. These are only negatives that will annoy perfectionists, people who think about it too much. When you’re watching, you won’t care about any of this – you know what to expect from a Dwayne Johnson action film, and you get exactly that from Skyscraper. Action, explosions, tension and big-budget effects… what’s not to love?

Complete with intense and well-choreographed action scenes, plot twists, Johnson’s charming sense of humour, with moments that make you gasp in shock, then hold your breath, bring you to the edge of your seat – all the emotions you want to experience during an action film like this. It provides all the entertainment value you could wish for, which is just what you want. Dwayne Johnson fans like myself are going to be unable to get enough of this action-packed sky-high crowd-pleaser of a film.

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