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Skyscraper silly but wildly entertaining?

Dwayne Johnson's films are not the kind that cinemagoers will remember fondly for years to come. His latest offering, Skyscraper, is the latest addition to his tally of entertaining, but ultimately bland movies.

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At this point, it’s practically a given that a Dwayne Johnson film will be a generic, slightly dull action film with a few daring stunts thrown in for good measure. Sure, there are exceptions – like last year’s highly successful Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which surprised everyone with how inspired its take was on a classic plot device — but mostly wrestler The Rock’s film career has been filled with forgettable flicks.

And although they’ve managed to turn him into Hollywood’s most bankable actor and a bonafide action hero, ultimately his films are not the kind that cinemagoers will remember fondly for years to come. His latest offering, Skyscraper, is the latest addition to his tally of entertaining, but ultimately bland movies.

Starring Johnson, Neve Campbell, Noah Tyler, Pablo Schreiber, Byron Mann and Hannah Quinlivan, the Rawon Marshall Thumber directed film revolved around an ex-FBI amputee working in China as a security assessor for a recently constructed building that is said to be the tallest in the world.

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Things take a turn for the worse when terrorists set the building on fire and our hero has to save his family from inside the burning building. If the premise doesn’t make you want to invest 1 hour and 42 minutes watching the film, then you’re probably better off not seeing Skyscraper.

That said, if you’re looking for a Hollywood summer blockbuster with some electric action scenes and little else, then Skyscraper could be what you need.

The film tries to impress early on when it introduces a twist that sees our protagonist getting blamed for the fire the terrorists have set and while that works in the film’s favor (adding an urgency that is badly needed in a film like this), other such twists actually make the film needlessly complicated.

In fact, the biggest problem with Skyscraper is easily that the film suffers from a weak script. The film exchanges character development, good writing and common sense for one action scene after the other, and as guffaw-worthy as they may be, they’re simply so stupid that they are often hard to digest.

What works are the actors’ performances? Johnson is pretty much the charismatic character that he has been in his previous action films, except this time he’s a father who is hell bent on rescuing his family. His earnestness helps sell all the crazy action and it is a credit to Johnson’s star power that he makes every single shot (as CGI filled as they are) so captivating.

In all honesty, this film with another actor may not have worked, so if this film continues to do solid business at the box office, it will very much be due to Johnson’s star power. Neve Campbell, who plays The Rock’s wife, Sarah Sawyer, gets some good scenes and she manages to make the most of them.

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The film makes the smart decision of making her a Navy surgeon and so Campbell gets to have some fun in the movie too. In a film like a Skyscraper, it’s important to mention the work of the cinematographer because, without him, Skyscraper would not be half as entertaining as it is.

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Robert Elswit (Nightcrawler, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) manages to make each shot wondrous, whether it is the CGI fire dangerously close to our leads or it’s the shots of Sawyer hanging by duct tape (yes, it’s that stupid), Elswit makes every scene beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

The movie plays homage to (read: unabashedly rips off) ‘Die Hard’ and ‘The Towering Inferno’ which is a fact that it hasn’t tried to hide, but considering the two films are much superior in pretty much every aspect, that only undermines the overall merits of the film.

All in all, Skyscraper is a silly but wildly entertaining action film that is purely meant to be enjoyed on the big screen. The movie lacks depth and logic, but if death-defying stunts and awe-inspiring CGI scenes are your cup of tea, then Skyscraper should not be missed.

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