FOR much of Die Hard, Bruce Willis ran around a high-rise building barefoot, stepping through glass, trying to save his wife and battle terrorists with foreign accents.
The Rock says he can do one better. He's only got one foot while running around a high-rise building trying to save his family and battle terrorists with foreign accents.
If only the similarities between Die Hard and Skyscraper had extended to the sense of fun and frivolity of the 1980s action classic, that would've helped The Rock's movie be more than a popcorn flick with little more going for it than its increasingly outlandish action sequences.
Of course Skyscraper was never going to be more than a mindless blockbuster - there are no deep metaphors, what you see is what you get. And what you get is one of the most ridiculous movies you'll ever see.
This is a movie in which neither logic nor physics is a limitation. You will see Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson conquer all manner of jaw-dropping, gravity-defying stunts - hurling himself through the air, climbing up 100-plus storeys on a construction crane with nothing more than sheer force of will and those enormous hands (Donald Trump would be so jealous). All the while, his character is an amputee with a prosthetic leg.
At one point, The Rock's character, Will Sawyer, stares down at his next challenge and says, "This is stupid." Yes, yes it is.
The story - because there is one and if nothing else, Skyscraper is surprisingly tightly plotted - follows Sawyer, a former Marine and FBI hostage rescuer, who has been hired to assess the security of the world's tallest skyscraper, the fictional 220-storey The Pearl in Hong Kong.
Will declares it "Fort Knox a mile in the sky". Any such proclamation guarantees someone will prove it's not. Which happens about five minutes later when Will is drawn into a dastardly plot involving Hans Gruber stand-in Kores Botha (Roland Moller), the leader of a group of baddies that set off a deadly firestorm on the 96th floor and take over The Pearl.
Will's family is trapped inside the building along with its owner Zhao (Chin Han) so the muscle man has to perform incredible, Ninja Warrior-times-ten feats of strength to rescue them and take down the terrorists.
All the Asian characters are thinly written, which would be a problem if the caucasian roles were better written - Skyscraper is non-discriminatory in its generic characterisation. Phew, dodged that bullet.
Moments of brevity are few and far between. Skyscraper is far too earnest and saccharine, missing copious opportunities to poke fun at itself. Its lack of humour is a particular disappointment because its director, Rawson Marshall Thurber, helmed the likes of Easy A, Dodgeball and Central Intelligence, the latter a surprisingly smart comedy with The Rock and Kevin Hart.
Perhaps the potential comedy was pared back (well back) by its Chinese investors who provided a significant chunk of Skyscraper's $US125 million ($A168 million) budget who might've worried about how American humour would translate to a Chinese audience - one can only speculate. That's not to say there aren't comical moments - they're just not intentional.
Having said all that, Skyscraper is pretty well edited with its unbelievable (the truest sense of the word in that it is not to be believed) and kinetic action sequences ratcheting up the tension if not the stakes (it's not the kind of movie where actual bad things will happen to the good guys).
Not for nothing, you will not be bored as you try to game what outrageous thing our hero is going to try next.
If you can suspend your disbelief - a requirement - and not get hung up on its cheesy dialogue or the fact that there is less real science here than an old episode of MacGyver, the ludicrous Skyscraper can offer you quite a movie-going experience. Just check your brain at the door.
Skyscraper is in cinemas tomorrow.
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