Skyscraper (2018)

Hey, folks. It’s time for movie #482 that follows Dwayne Johnson trying to save his family from some sort of disaster. This time, it’s a burning building. But the building is really tall. That’s the only difference. Oh, wait! Johnson has a physical disability (that doesn’t ultimately matter) in this one! Totally different. You’ve seen most of it before—if not in other movies that follow Johnson and his family then in Die Hard or The Towering Inferno. And both of those are far more worth your time than the blandly named Skyscraper, which has as much originality as its title.

The premise here is that there’s a really tall building and some bad guys take it over, light it on fire, and capture the family of Will (Johnson), after stranding him on the ground. He has to figure out a way to get up to them and take out the baddies. He has an amputated leg, too, which means … nothing, actually. He has a prosthetic and is still The Rock, so he’s fine. I can’t even begin to pretend to fake any amount of enthusiasm for this movie.

Something like Skyscraper should thrill from the time the disaster starts until it reaches its conclusion. It doesn’t even begin to elevate the pulse. It’s made with bits and pieces of better movies, has one of the blandest attempts at characterization we’ve seen recently, is so logically stupid from start to finish that it’s impossible to take even remotely close to as seriously as it wishes, and doesn’t even have the action or set pieces to make up for all of its deficiencies.

It’s all formula with the most basic effort imaginable put in. You’ll be unsurprised to see a couple of scenes early on in which Johnson gets to show us how much he cares about his family. They don’t get discernible personalities but he loves them, so we have to care about whether they live or die. The moment one character enters the frame, I figured he’d turn out to be evil and, by golly, guess what winds up happening? It’s like it was written by a 6-year-old. Actually, scratch that. It doesn’t have the depth for that kind of high praise.

The film is too busy desperately trying to get the Chinese market to love it in order to introduce strong characters, themes, or any semblance of intelligence. The dumber the movie, the easier it is to correctly subtitle, after all. And you don’t get much dumber than Skyscraper. You’ll really feel that way after its finale for two reasons: (1) the foreshadowing that comes before it, which you’ll only be aware of afterward, will make you slap your forehead with your palm and (2) what actually happens is just silly.

Skyscraper is a boring disaster thriller that feels like it’s been stitched together from pieces of better movies but with the soul and intelligence lost in the process. It’s dumb, shallow, loud, and pointless. How many times do we need to see The Rock—and it’s just Dwayne Johnson; he rarely plays actual characters—rescue his family from “certain” doom? It turns out that I have had enough. Skyscraper failed to excite or make me come close to caring about anything that happened during it.

Conclusion: Skyscraper is big, dumb, and boring.

Recommendation: Go watch The Towering Inferno. Or Die Hard.

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