REVIEW: Skyscraper is a Fun Action Movie That Lacks Originality
It’s that time of the year: a new Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson-led action film hits cinemas. This occasion happens frequently, almost every three months or so, which begs the question “why?”. The answer is simple, Dwayne Johnson is the perfect action star. Whether it’s his swashbuckling charisma or perfect build, Johnson commands the screen and keeps pumping these action flicks out because of it. Everyone loves him for it (be included, of course) and will support him no matter how ridiculous the movie.
This time it’s a movie called Skyscraper and the plot is fairly simple and very familiar. Will Sawyer is a retired FBI agent who now works as a security consultant. His task is to make sure the world’s tallest building, “The Pearl”, is safe to open its top half to the public. Sawyer deems it safe only to later be breached by terrorists. Sawyer‘s family gets trapped in the building with the terrorists and Sawyer must save them before it’s too late.
Chances are you have heard Skyscraper compared to other classic action films like Die Hard and The Towering Inferno. After seeing it, I can confirm it’s more than just influence, the plots are way too similar. That’s Skyscraper’s biggest flaw: lack of originality. Die Hard comparisons have been drawn for years, but unlike others, this film doesn’t add anything new to the table. Without The Rock, Skyscraper wouldn’t have a lot going for it.
Each time a new Rock movie comes out, I’m curious to see how they’ll shake up his character because, in the end, he’s always playing The Rock. This time, however, they do give Will Sawyer a backstory as an amputee who was injured in a horrific incident. The problem is that Sawyer has already gone through his arc before the action even starts. What makes Die Hard so fascinating is the heavily flawed John McClane and the strong arc he goes through. Sawyer is the same as he was at the ten-minute point as he was at the end. As an audience, we relate to weakness and sympathize with the character. With action movies, it’s even more important since most action heroes are flawless and always save the day. We get to see Sawyer as a half-way sympathetic and flawed character, but never to his full potential. It seems like the backstory was added in so he could use his fake leg as a prop.
Skyscraper is not a great movie, but it’s so much fun. It is a cheesy action film with ridiculous moments that never stops being a good time. One of the film’s biggest positives is how tense it is. Although Sawyer is not the most compelling protagonist, you care about Sawyer because he is, well, The Rock. The action is well shot and the CGI is fantastic, adding up to a great aesthetic for the film.
In the end, “The Pearl” being a high-tech building is really a huge metaphor for the film in general. This is the fancier and more technologically advanced Die Hard with some Towering Inferno sprinkled in. Bigger is not always better.