The Rock, aka Dwayne Johnson, we all probably already know, is this generation’s Arnold Scharzenegger. He is mostly (if not all) in action films, and while he has a handful of big successes (like the Fast and Furious films and Jumanji 2), he does every know and then have a minor or major dud (Baywatch and Rampage). While SKYSCRAPER isn’t as terrible as some critics are making it out to be, it isn’t very good. So it is definitely closer to his duds even though it doesn’t quite get to their lows And this has been said by everyone, but I do want to confirm that it really is a giant Die Hard wannabe rip off that has absolutely no substance that made Die Hard the classic that it is. It doesn’t even come to the heights of wannabe rip off funchessy-ness that even the Jean Claude Van Damme movie Sudden Death had. This movie takes itself wayyyyy too seriously for what it is. I mean, the gimmick in this one is Dwayne Johnson has a prosthetic leg in this, and the movie only uses that gimmick in one scene, and it doesn’t even make it funny.
The only thing it had going for it is that I was extremely tired before sitting down to watch it, and it kept my attention the entire time, and the fact that the movie actually had the balls to cast the delightful Sydney Prescott…err, I mean Neve Campbell in a role. What is really funny is she is the best actor/actress in this entire film and in the end seems a little too good to actually be in this even with her Screamography. She actually made us believe someone like Dwayne Johnson would marry her. I unintentionally laughed a lot in this, mainly because all of the foreshadowing details are all too in your face, and when they pay off later in the movie, the movie treats these developments as serious as a tough job interview. Everything that is unique about this building and stands out visually, you know that The Rock is going to have to go there and rescue or fight or debug something electronically at some point. Why couldn’t the movie had been a minor satire and had poked fun at itself with several scenes or lines of dialogue commenting about how ridiculous everything is? Instead it is, “a need to go here, and do this, and fast, or everyone will die,” with a poker face that could win tournaments. If the movie had played with these actions tropes, it could’ve been a much better, more memorable ride. But everything is so straight laced, it is hard to really enjoy ones self while watching it.
And the one leg thing. Come on. In the trailers it made it seem like the whole plot of the movie would be based on how a strong military type man could do all of these amazing action rescue things and fighting off bad guys with this one small handicap. And while I knew Dwayne Johnson’s character having a prosthetic leg in this was something to make his character seem more human and down to Earth than the big toughie he has been in all these other films, the movie still didn’t play to how ridiculous a situation that leg could put him in. It’s gimmick comes and goes in one scene, and this scene is in the trailers and television spots. Other than the very beginning, the rest of the film barely shows or even mentions his prosthetic leg, and The Rock is just bouncing, running, and leaping like normal. If you are going to put that type of thing in a movie, it needs to be near the center, if not THE center. Otherwise, it seems like screenplay writing afterthought, like the first draft was written without the fake leg, The Rock was cast, and the producers told you to put something in it to distinguish it from other Die Hard rip offs, so the writer said, “oh hey, a peg leg!”
And the whole reason why this building is being attacked, while setting it up as some kind of mystery in the trailers and tv spots, the revelation is definitely a ho hum let down. Instead of something brilliant and never done before, it has the McGuffin of where so many of these films have gone, with maybe a small twist to try to distinguish itself. It doesn’t work. And the final showdown/climatic finale is a CGI green screen fest shit show. And I knew, I FUCKING KNEW, that when they showed this area in the movie that it was going to be where the final showdown took place, and I knew that it was going to look awful an hour and 10 minutes before it happened. I was praying (btw, you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it), that this little building gimmick would somehow make the final fight not look stupid and cheesy and cliched, but nope, it did it anyway, and it wasn’t even winking at the audience.
Does Skyscraper still sound like something you want to see? To actually enjoy your time, might I recommend that you just watch Die Hard for the umpteenth time, because you really aren’t missing anything here, unless you are a Dwayne Johnson completest. There are worse films out there, like this won’t even be near my worst of list by the end of the year, and thankfully, audiences actually made a smart decision here and knew mediocrity when they saw it and it didn’t really make that much this weekend box office wise. My point is, these filmmakers can’t just keep saying, “well, at least it isn’t the worst thing out there.” They need to look harder at these scripts, and decide if these are truly worth even making. I know if I was a producer or owned a studio and saw this script, it would’ve been easily a hard pass. What makes these things get greenlit? Just the star power alone? No, I actually have an answer, these movies make much more money overseas, and this movie is under the Legendary banner, which mostly collaborates with films overseas to get made. I just wish the rest of the world would also notice this mediocre so we can get something done about it. Until then, when do you think the next building under siege/hostage and only one hero to save everyone will come out?