Skyscaper is a modern day melange of some of our favourite movies, The Towering Inferno, Die Hard and throw in a little homage to Enter the Dragon and how can you fail. Oh God...
So, the plot. We follow the story of Will Sawyer (DwayneJohnson), a former FBI agent who must rescue his family from a newly built skyscraper–the tallest in the world–after it is taken over by terrorists and set on fire.
So, ok, a remake of The Towering Inferno (kind-of). Whilst I really like the Rock in Rampage and Jumanji; I’m afraid this is not a Rock solid performance as the movie is full of clichés and “cliff-hanging” jumps and feats of agility and strength. The element of comedy we got in both Rampage & Jumanji don’t exist and as the movie is a PG/12 cert, obviously aimed at families, it needs to have a little bit of comedy to lighten the story. Give me Steve McQueen & Paul Newman any day.
Ok then, it fails as a remake of the Towering Inferno. It’s kind of a bit like Die Hard also. Well yes, terrorists blowing up a building and there is only one man that can stop them. That’s more like it. The special effects are awesome and seamless as we expect from block buster movies these days. We have lots of loud explosions, gruesome fight scenes (unfortunately Disneyfied ... see my rant here about that) and a fast flowing story so these elements work well. However, Die Hard is a far better movie and whilst a nearly shirtless Bruce Willis doesn’t have the build of Dwayne Johnson he’s more realistic.
There are a lot of similarities between Die Hard and Skyscaper and that’s not a bad thing. I was expecting an exclamation of Yippie Kai Aye (or however you spell it) and it’s one cliché that would have brought a smile to my face. To keep it PG there would have been no need to say the MF bit.
My favourite part, and it was foreshadowed at the start of the movie was the virtual reality room at the top of the skyscraper. Using a gazillion high-tech flat screens and multiple cameras a virtual mirror room can be created. This is, obviously a homage to the awesomeness of Bruce Lee and Enter the Dragon.
An iconic movie coupled with the skill and fighting abilities of Bruce Lee have never been matched in martial arts movies. At the end of the movie Bruce is chasing down the villain and of course intends to kill him. The realness of these scenes, with over 800 mirrors was so disorientating the actors and crew couldn’t stay on the set for more than 15 minutes at a time without getting sick.
The final fight scenes in Skyscraper don’t even come close to the finale of Enter the Dragon but it’s not a bad attempt. It’s a tall order, even if you are Dwayne Johnson, all 6 foot, four inches in height and over 200 pounds to match up with Bruce Lee. Hint. He doesn’t.
Considering how difficult it is to make an original movie these days, we often get remakes, reboots and retelling of previous movies and stories. This is not a bad thing if done correctly. Unfortunately Skyscaper has too much going on and is just trying too hard. It fails as a reboot of Towering Inferno or Die Hard. The only successful part is the mirror room battle at the end and the one joke of “if Duck Tape isn’t working, you’re not using enough”. I give Skyscaper 6 planets out of 10. Too many clichés, lacking originality and not enough comedy for a family movie.
John The Captain Ryan