3 out of 5
In the 80’s Schwarzenegger and Stallone ruled the action box office. Rambo, The Terminator, Predator, Commando, Cobra — all of them known now as “classics.” At the time, I remember not being able to watch them because they were rated R, and had too much blood, violence and language for me to get past the parental units. Now when I watch them, I doubt they would even get a PG-13 rating, unless they had too many F-bombs in them. They don’t seem to hold up all that well. Nowadays, the unquestioned version of those guys on the big screen is Dwayne Johnson. Heck, he even was passed the torch in “The Rundown” when Arnie made a cameo and told him, “Good luck.” So my thought going into “Skyscraper” was, “I wonder if The Rock’s movies will hold up, or will they be seen as over the top and goofy 30 years from now?” He’s had a few genuinely good movies, such as the aforementioned “Rundown,” but others like “San Andreas” and “Baywatch” seemed hokey even when they came out.
With “Skyscraper” you have a movie that is equal parts “Die Hard” and “The Towering Inferno,” and maybe even a little bit of “The Poseidon Adventure.” The nice thing about the latter two movies is they still hold up. You can sit down and watch them today, and they are just as suspenseful now as they were when they were first released. Maybe the special effects aren’t as good — but the stories and acting were superb and that never gets old. “Die Hard” meanwhile, is good, but is more in line with the stuff Stallone and Schwarzenegger were putting out during their primes. Will “Skyscraper” go down with those films have in history? Will it just burn up? Or will it end up falling in the bin of “classics” like those films from the 80’s?
My first thoughts while watching the movie was is it possible for any of the main characters to die? With “The Poseidon Adventure” and “The Towering Inferno” important characters perish, which added to the tension throughout the films, and genuinely made you nervous for your favorite actors. I’ll never forget Gene Hackman’s sacrifice in “The Poseidon Adventure.” In “Skyscraper” there are moments of great tension, for instance, the scene with Johnson climbing a crane and jumping over to an open window — while mocked with movie poster online — was really good. Being a person who is not fond of heights, I can tell you there were times where my stomach really felt that tickle of “NOPE!” But still the tension is kind of released knowing he’s gonna make it — at least for that part of the movie. So that part of the experience is a bit dwindled — however — that doesn’t make this movie bad by any stretch.
I really enjoyed the film, and while I heard others moaning in the theater at some of the convenient ways really big problems are magically able to be solved — it’s still a lot of fun and exactly what you go to the summer movies expecting. First, Dwayne Johnson is turning into a really good actor — period. He’s always been a natural — but he is getting better. He has great comedic timing, obviously is a large presence on the screen, and you can just see his confidence (if it’s possible) getting stronger each time out. Neve Campbell is a pleasant return to the screen, as we haven’t seen much from her over the years, but she turns in a nice performance as a protective mom / wife / but also tough as nails lady who is not to be messed with. The villains are villains and once again the effects that are created in this film to give you the feeling of being REALLY high in the air — are out of this world good. I’m not exaggerating when I say my stomach genuinely felt the butterfly feeling you get when you look down a long ways.
I’m not prepared to put this movie in the same category as “The Poseidon Adventure” or “The Towering Inferno,” but it is every bit as good as “Die Hard,” and will certainly hold up in the immediate future. It’s hard to say what will be said of it 30 years from now — but for now — it is a nice reprieve from Super Heroes and The Force.