Main cast: Dwayne Johnson (Will Sawyer), Neve Campbell (Sarah Sawyer), Chin Han (Zhao Long Ji), Roland Møller (Kores Botha), Pablo Schreiber (Ben), Noah Taylor (Mr Pierce), Hannah Quinlivan (Xia), Matt O’Leary (Skinny Hacker), Byron Mann (Inspector Wu), McKenna Roberts (Georgia Sawyer), Noah Cottrell (Henry Sawyer), Kevin Rankin (Ray), Adrian Holmes (Ajani Okeke), and Tzi Ma (Fire Chief Sheng)
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Skyscraper is a movie featuring Dwayne Johnson. So it’s exactly what it says on the box. We have him playing another invulnerable hero that can do everything and anything, because he was once in the military and secret service, usually at the same time, which serves as an excuse for him to be able to fly like a helicopter, charge like a bullet train, and punch like a rhinoceros stampede. Our hero will have retired from all that, along the way still managing to find time to do a lot of studying to be super smart in his chosen field, before stumbling right into the heat of some drama that needs him to charge to the rescue. There is no suspense whatsoever as to whether he will fail, because Dwayne Johnson’s brand is the infallible, invulnerable guy with one eyebrow permanently raised for that look. The only thing that varies from one of his movie to the other is whether there will be a wife or not.
Here, Will Sawyer (ex-military, ex-Navy SEAL, best security consultant ever, you know the drill) lost one leg when a past gig went wrong, and now he’s a security officer in a 200-plus story Hong Kong skyscraper telling the disdainful architect that if you are trapped in a building this tall during a disaster, you are so, so fucked. Unless you are BFFs with the Rock, of course, as our hero demonstrates when terrorists attack this building, the Pearl, and our hero has to rescue his wife and kids when he’s not evading the law who think he’s the one responsible for the terrorist shenanigans. All the bad guys are incompetent, of course, in the face of the Rock, as he makes gravity-defying leaps and bounds to demonstrate that the physics are for sissies and the Rock poops on the grave of Isaac Newton. Things go kaboom, the guns go off, and the Rock wins. Who would have thought?
The whole thing is supremely brainless and mildly entertaining. Perhaps I’d be more entertained if the lead actor weren’t a guy who had been playing the same role in almost every movie that he has put out in the past, especially when it seems like he has a movie out every few months. Of course, it’s all good if the Rock wants to make lots of money while he is still able to – more power to him – but it’d be nice if he would at least try to make things different even a little once in a while? At least Rampage has violent giant monsters, this one only has the Rock versus some glowering, snarling but ultimately ineffectual terrorists, and it only underscores how the Rock fatigue is setting in on me.
One thing I find intriguing, though: Neve Campbell’s wife character is actually quite kickass here. She has some skills (surgery and martial arts – no, really), and she also knows several languages that make her a handy person to have around. Just imagine if she had been the main character. Skyscraper would be twice as interesting as a result, I’d bet. Instead, she’s the sidekick to some guy playing a shtick that is so played out that no amount of explosions and dangling scenes can hide how boring the character of the Rock has become.