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Skyscraper

Jul 11, 2018

Not quite stupid because even I get caught up in the stylized summer mayhem.

Skyscraper

Grade: C+

Director: Rawson Marsh Thurber (We’re the Millers)

Screenplay: Thurber

Cast: Dwayne Johnson (Jumanji), Neve Campbell (Scream)

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 1 hr 42 min

by John DeSando

“This is stupid.” Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson)

If you’ve seen Die Hard and Towering Inferno, you’re in familiar dangerous tall-building territory. In Skyscraper, former FBI agent and now safety expert Will Sawyer must save his family from a fire in the Pearl, the tallest building in the world. Distinguishing this “stupid,” cookie-cutter summer thriller is the believable Johnson, the most sincere, muscle-bound hero, who, except for those massive outcroppings on his arms and bank account, is just like you and me.

While trying to get back to family is becoming the motif of choice for hero films, Johnson casts a surprisingly humorless spell even in the most dangerous places. He’s just a dad trying to save his wife and kids from architect Zhao Long Zhi’s (Chin Han) burning Hong-Kong icon and nasty Euro-goons determined to bring Zhao and the building down. Thankfully, Will’s family happens to be smart enough to help in their own escape.

Mom (Neve Campbell) is kick-ass enough, being a combat surgeon, to let some of that testosterone flow through her hands. Although in a clichéd role as waiting mother, she’s worth seeing in a better, meatier role.

Add to that feminist cred the icy Asian Lady (Beatrice King), swift of kick and gun, and you can forget the central casting big-bad guys, one of whom is Swedish and Ben-Foster mean, played by Roland Moller.  Too bad not one of those bad people is in the greatest goons’ pantheon like Hans Gruber. The only character who counts, however, is the actor formerly known as The Rock. 

He will live to climb more tall buildings because the crowds below love to watch him scale this building in minutes just as the theater crowds do.  Don’t despair, however, for there’s more pleasant idiocy to come this summer with Mission Impossible.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com