‘Skyscraper’ fails to reach many cinematic heights

Published Jul 29, 2018 at 9:00am

Even though he is one of the most charming actors in Hollywood, not even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson can rise high with “Skyscraper.”

The actor’s second big action release of the year is decent, but nothing about “Skyscraper” warrants actually going to see it in theaters. The movie is a standard action film that doesn’t have any noteworthy personality or wit, and seems to actively avoid having any fun with itself.

Compare that to The Rock’s earlier movie in April, “Rampage”, which had a ton of fun teaming up the actor with a giant gorilla. The really tall building in “Skyscraper” doesn’t prove to be nearly as good a sidekick.

In the new movie, The Rock plays an independent contractor who is brought in to finalize the security features in the world’s tallest building, recently constructed in Hong Kong.

When a bunch of bad guys lay siege to the building and set it on fire, The Rock must action hero his way inside the burning high rise, rescue his family and perhaps stop the bad guys while he’s at it.

There are plenty of high profile action scenes in “Skyscraper”, pitting The Rock and a couple of supporting characters up against all manner of death-defying leaps, dangerous shoot outs and a couple of other weird set pieces that seem slightly out of place. Apparently the titular skyscraper needed both an indoor park and a virtual reality map room, both of which get action scenes.

Unfortunately for anyone who was a fan of the movie’s infamous poster — which shows The Rock making a physics-defying leap from a crane into the skyscraper — that scene isn’t nearly as wild as the marketing lies would have you believe.

The movie’s biggest sin is the degree to which is simply checks off action movie cliches. From predictable twists to a standard climax showdown, there is very little in “Skyscraper” that you haven’t seen before.

The only real standout in “Skyscraper” is actor Neve Campbell in the role of The Rock’s wife. Rather than just being a damsel in distress or a nag, like most wife roles, Campbell’s character is a three-time combat medic who more than holds her own against the bad guys in her own subplots.

One almost wonders what the movie would have been like if it were Campbell making the death-defying leaps and having showdowns with the bad guys, and it was The Rock on the ground providing backup.

“Skyscraper” does earn some bonus points for having The Rock’s character only have one leg. His prosthesis comes into play a couple of times to add an extra level of tension to some of the action scenes, though it’s never exactly central to the character or the movie. It’s just a nice nod to diversity to give your big action hero a disability.

The Rock may be a charming actor, but “Skyscraper” is not the best showcase of his talents. It’s the sort of generic action movie that might best be saved for an in-flight movie, if nothing else is on worth watching.