I don’t like to paint this scenario often in my blog. However, for the sake of the review, I’m going to do it. Close your eyes and imagine your family facing a perilous situation where life and death are on the line. Unfortunately, you are on the outside looking in and desperately trying to figure out what role you can play in their rescue ~ because you HAVE to ensure their safety. Add to the picture a raging inferno, a handful of ruthless villains, glass flying everywhere, a Tower of Babel style building with modern technology you could only dream of experiencing ~ oh, and a prosthetic leg ~ put that all together and you have the makings of an action-packed thriller called SKYSCRAPER.
Disclaimer: I was invited to a complimentary media screening of SKYSCRAPER in exchange for my honest review of the film. All opinions below are 100% mine and mine alone.
Global icon Dwayne Johnson leads the cast of Legendary’s Skyscraper as former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer, who now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in China he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he’s been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family who is trapped inside the building…above the fire line.
I’ll be honest here – I wasn’t sure what to think about this one when I first caught wind of it and received the invite. It looked like another one of those “hero” movies where it’s all about the brawn and crazy stunt moves. I feared it would lack an engaging story-line. However, I love Dwayne Johnson and have seen tremendous growth in his roles over the years (but he may always be a “demi-god” to me). I was open to the potential of this movie actually surprising me.
After the Screening Thoughts
Sure enough, the movie did just that! While it’s not my typical style of movie to watch on a regular basis (despite living with an enormous amount of testosterone around me), this film had me engaged from beginning to end. No, I’m not kidding!
The action starts right from the get-go and it literally doesn’t stop. There are pockets of calm, but the entire movie centers around the literal, piece by piece destruction of the largest building in the entire world. It will have you on the edge of your seat, involuntarily jumping a few inches off your seat and maybe even shrinking down into your seat, particularly if you are one who may have a fear of heights.
What makes this movie more attractive is the presence of an actual story-line. While I wish a few things could have been fleshed out a bit more, two very blatant ideas stood out to me through the movie ~ the importance of family and the opportunity to rebuild.
The Importance of Family
The story centers around a family visiting Hong Kong while the father figure, played by Dwayne Johnson, carries out a job he has been contracted to perform. Unbeknownst to him, he is selected as the fall guy in a plot to sabotage the building’s projected progression. He has no idea he has been framed, nor the impact it will have on his wife (played by Neve Campbell) and twins. When things do not go as planned, which is often the case, strategic adjustments are made and innocent people are caught in the crossfire. Thus, the situation arises where one’s values are tested and lines drawn in the proverbial sand.
Dwayne Johnson plays Will Sawyer, the father, ex-FBI Hostage Rescue team leader and current independent business owner. When he faces the realization that his family is trapped in the middle of what has become a violent act of revenge and theft, he must make hasty decisions in unfamiliar territory, such as he did in his days with the FBI. Defying most odds and the authorities who are hunting him down as a suspect, Will Sawyer does everything he can to physically get himself inside the building, find his family and ensure their absolute safety.
Now – here is something I very much appreciated about this film.
One would expect a movie with a man as brawny as Johnson to include power punches and battles that seem to leave the hero basically unscathed and dripping with arrogant pride. While the movie does showcase some spectacular stunts and fight scenes, I saw more of a focus honing in on the strength of a father, rather than the strength of a man. Though Johnson’s character is a US war veteran and, again, an FBI Hostage Rescue team leader, it is his role as a father and his complete devotion and commitment to his family that clearly enable him to persevere through the pain and the circumstances he faces. Johnson nails it – literally. He mastered the father figure and I commend him for it.
The Opportunity to Rebuild
The act of rebuilding is also a clearly evident idea woven throughout the entire film and carried over into multiple story-lines. In one scenario, there is a man recovering from injuries suffered during a hostage rescue. Despite the perils of losing a limb and suffering the trauma of a mission gone wrong, he has the strength and tenacity to rebuild his life. He marries a strong, beautiful woman and has two amazing children, as well as starts his own business. That’s a tremendous success story to boast.
However, in sharp contrast, a buddy of his from the same failed mission, is not afforded the same opportunity and ultimately feels slighted, unable to rebuild after suffering career-ending injuries.
One other example where rebuilding becomes a prevalent thought in the film is where Chin Han’s character, Zhao Long Ji, has to face the reality that his life’s creation is no longer operational or habitable. He, too, finds himself at a fork in the road and must make a decision. What will he do? Will he see this as a sign of failure and walk away or will he choose to rebuild and move forward with confidence and strength?
I’ll leave that one for you to discover on your own.
Good for families?
I’m going to be honest here. I don’t think I’ll take my tween to see it. There is a good deal of violence, though I admit not a tremendous amount of gore. We heard a handful of curse words, but nothing like we’ve seen in many movies out today. In at least one instance, someone does drop the “f” bomb. I am certainly not thrilled with where it drops either, but that’s the nature of things these days.
I do want to warn those have a fear of heights or get woozy at the sight of looking down. Take note that this movie provides ample opportunities to induce that feeling and make you nervous. My hubby – love him dearly – had a little bit of an issue from time to time. As strong of a man as he is, heights are just not his thing ~ this despite having jumped out of airplanes at one point during his military career! At point during the movie, I almost had to pick him up off the floor. (go ahead, laugh – he gave me permission to share this).
Needless to say, the cinematic special effects, including the pyrotechnics, in this movie are spectacular!!!!
Would I ultimately recommend the film?
You know what? Yes, yes I would. I think it’s engaging, full of intrigue and shows that Dwayne Johnson is more versatile an actor than some of us give him credit. Neve Campbell, Chin Han and the rest of the cast play their roles well and the stunts are rather entertaining. It’s a definite edge-of-your-seat action film, but not gruesome enough to keep your hands nearby to cover your eyes. So – yes. I would say it’s a movie those who favor action-packed thrillers will enjoy.
SKYSCRAPER COMES TO THEATERS JULY 13TH!! Do you have your tickets yet?
**all photos and videos provided courtesy of Universal Pictures
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