With the summer season now in full swing, and temperatures reaching at times very uncomfortable heights (seriously living on the 12th floor of an apartment building does have it’s downsides), Hollywood bring us the usual popcorn summer movies. I love movies, a fact that many of you know very well. I can watch classics, b-movies, action movies, dramas and many others with equal enthusiasm. Lately though it seems that people in general (and mind you this is not meant as criticism) just have forgotten how to have fun at the movies. These days I read a lot of reviews saying that certain films are not original any more, full of cliches, not have a decent storyline and of these kind of remarks. And while of course there is definitely truth in some of those statements, I wonder if that is necessarily a bad thing all the time. Ask yourself the question why we watch movies in the first place? If you answered: “To be entertained”, you answered correctly. So why then if a movie does entertain, but doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, are critics so fast to slam it into the ground? A perfect example of this is the new Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) movie Skyscraper.
The Rock plays former FBI hostage team leader Will Sawyer who lost his leg after a horrible incident. He has managed to pick up the pieces of his life though, and now has a lovely wife and two adorable children and a new job as a security inspector for skyscrapers. One day one of his former FBI team mates introduces him to a wealthy Asian financer, who has just overseen the construction of the tallest building in the world. Called “ The Pearl” and build in Hong Kong it’s a remarkable feat of engineering, and Will gets offered the job to overlook it’s security. After Will leaves the building, later that day a group of terrorists, under the command of a man named Botha, enter it and start an enormous blaze on one of the middle floors. Sawyer’s family who at that time is also present in the Pearl become trapped with the fire creeping ever closer. Will has to find away to enter the burning skycraper and rescue his wife and kids before it’s too late. Things become even more difficult when the police think that he might also be a part of the villains. But Sawyer is determined, and not about to be slowed down…by anyone….
So if this story sounds somewhat familiar to you, you would be right. Of course one can’t help but think of Die Hard or the brilliant Towering Inferno when watching this. But let’s first start with the good stuff here. This movie once again proves why The Rock is currently the highest paid actor in the business. His natural charisma, acting abilities and physical prowess just seem to win you over in pretty much every role he plays. This one is no exception to that rule. Wil Sawyer is just the kind of hero type that you can’t help but root for. He has a disability in the form of his prosthetic leg, but manages to overcome this and emerge as someone who rises above himself. It was also a pleasant surprise to see Neve “Scream” Campbell again on the bigscreen who played his wife Sarah. She was once one of the most promising young actresses of Hollywood, but sadly her career never took off. Which is a true shame as she really is a terrific actress and in this film that once again became apparent. The on screen chemistry between The Rock and her also worked quite well which is important in a film such as this.
But of course you go to a movie like this to see action, and in that regard the movie serves you well. As expected you will get a couple of great scenes where Will must overcome dizzying heights in order to get his family to safety. And of course this being a Die Hard type of film there are also plenty of fight scenes, gun battles in short all of the good stuff. The film hardly ever has a point where you get to relax, and thunders along like a rollercoaster, never leaving you bored for a single second. After all the postives there are of course also a few negatives. One of these was the ending of the film. It felt a bit anticlimactic to be honest, especially after the build up that came before it. While it luckily did not ruin the film for me, it was slightly disappointing. The film’s main villain Botha, played by actor Roland Møller, was not particularly menacing and pretty much a stereo type kind of evil guy. And then of course it is inevitable to not mention that the movie lacks in orginality and is pretty much a by the book summer blockbuster.
But again I ask the question: “ Is this really such a bad thing? “. In the case of this film I can only answer with no. During the entire playtime of this movie I was entertained, except for the conclusion of the film which could have been better. It’s becoming common practice to automatically give a movie a bad grade just because it doesn’t do anything new. And that to me at least isn’t fair. I don’t always need a film that brings me an original script, or Oscar worthy performances. Sometimes I just like to go to the movies and watch a film where I can turn off my mind for 2 hours or so and just enjoy it for what it is: a nice, well made and solidly entertaining action romp. Skycraper is just that: nothing more, nothing less. Chances are that if you like these type of films, you are going to pretty much enjoy this one. This film is just simply solid as a rock, pun of course totally intended.
I give Skyscraper a 8 out of 10 score.