Kevin: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s highly anticipated remake of the Anna Nicole Smith thriller “Skyscraper” is out this weekend, and there was no way CJ and I weren’t going to be first in line for what was described as “The Towering Inferno” mixed with “Die Hard.” If you are a fan of this site then you were probably already planning on checking it out soon as well, so while we will have our longer review posted next week, we figured we’d give you a heads up on where to set your expectations and how much you might want to spend on a ticket:
Is it worth paying full price? Are you and your significant other Dwayne Johnson superfans? Then “Skyscraper” is the date movie you’ve been waiting for. Pay the babysitter whatever she is charging, or if you can’t find a babysitter, lock your kids in the basement for the night, no fellow Rock fan would judge you. On a scale of 1-10 in terms of Rockness, “Skyscraper” is a 9, and only comes up short because amazingly Johnson’s shirt stays unripped no matter how much flexing of his muscles he does. Otherwise he gives his fans exactly what they came for: he plays his usual flawless family man, he doesn’t like violence but isn’t afraid of action, and he performs superhuman feats that mere mortals who don’t spend 12 hours a day in the gym and take massive quantities of HGH could only dream about.
Also, if you are a fan of “American” action movies blatantly pitched at the Chinese market, or have a sick fetish for watching people about to fall but then gripping on to a ledge with one hand at the last second, then “Skyscraper” is gonna be as close to porn as you can get in a theater nowadays.
Should I just do a matinee? If you are buying a ticket less for The Rock and more to see some good old-fashioned shooting and fisticuffs then maybe so. While the spectacle of the world’s largest tower engulfed in flames is impressive, this is definitely as family friendly as a “Die Hard” copycat can be. The bad guys are barely sketched out, there aren’t any real noteworthy fight scenes or kills, and the main villain is neither memorably great like Alan Rickman nor memorably awful like Bruce Payne in “Passenger 57;” he mainly just seems like a placeholder for a better character that they never got around to writing.
I did like that he and The Rock don’t have some secret history together from their respective military days or anything like that; he’s just some Norwegian dude who just happens to be the guy The Rock kills last. And fans of the many “Die Hard” rip-offs from back in the day will appreciate seeing the usual tropes here, such as the requisite slaughter of security guards/technicians at the beginning, stupid bureaucrats who take forever to figure out what is going on, and the one evil hot chick on the bad guy squad who eventually fights the hero’s love interest/girlfriend/wife (and hey Neve Campbell, good to see you again).
Can I skip it? Sure I guess, but at this point an original (well not exactly, but you know what I mean) action film starring one of the world’s biggest movie stars that isn’t based on a comic book, doesn’t further ruin our memories of “Star Wars,” and doesn’t involve stupid people running from dinosaurs seems like water in a desert. While early reviews have the next “Mission: Impossible” poised to be the movie to beat this summer, until then “Skyscraper” will adequately satisfy your action needs.
CJ: If you told me that The Rock was going to hold up the building through his muscles and pure determination, I wouldn’t blink an eye! “Skyscraper” is one of those nice popcorn movies that knows what it is, doesn’t treat the audience like idiots, and also doesn’t try to out-think itself.
Also, The Rock continues his streak of playing characters who were previously badass military men, thus explaining why a guy who evaluates security systems has rippling muscles and can fight highly trained mercenaries to the death. In fact, I’d like to see how far The Rock can take this: “Struggling pastry chef Foster ‘Mac’ Mackenzie lives a quiet life in Vermont with his wife and children, but knows one day his past demons will come out of the shadows. That’s what happens when you’re the man who shot Osama bin Laden. The Rock stars in … ‘Pound Cake’.”
Don’t wait for this to come out on VOD. Drop the $15 and go experience some great intense scenes where you wonder if The Rock can leap off a crane into a building, scale glass with duct tape on his hands, and convince the world he understands what “subroutines” are. What are they? I don’t know, I thought they were actually subs moving in formation. Or dancing sandwiches.
Also kudos to the writers for making sure that when characters saw fire they actually ran away instead of stopping to discuss things or crack jokes. Fire is hot!