<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>


Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Noah Taylor, Roland Moller, Bryon Mann, Pablo Schreiber, Hannah Quinlivan

Running time: 1 hour 42 minutes


If you’re ready to suspend disbelief, Skyscraper takes you on a thrill ride of death-defying stunts and unbelievable action.


Not expecting much from this film that looked a lot like a Die Hard rip-off from the trailer, I was overwhelmingly surprised by the accuracy with which it replicates the action hero films of the 80s and 90s. Did we ever question Arnie, Van Damme, Willis or Stallone when they were on top of planes or trains fighting bad guys? They were our super heroes in a time when there were no Avengers. Skyscraper is that delicious piece of nostalgia for those of us who know the elements of a good action thriller.

Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) is a physically disabled ex-soldier (his credentials are too many to list here) who now runs a small security firm supported by his ex-soldier wife (Neve Campbell) and two kids. Fate – or something more sinister – leads him to a big project: The Pearl, the tallest building on the planet, located in Hong Kong and owned by billionaire Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han). But of course, the bad guys want to burn the building down, for reasons I won’t mention, lest I spoil the surprise. And there are plenty of twists in this film that will keep you guessing.


Yes The Rock, with one prosthetic leg, climbs the shaft of a tall crane up to the 96th floor of the 220-floor building. Yes he jumps from the crane into the burning building. Yes he also rappels down the side of the building. If you’re not prepared to ‘believe’ that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson can do all these things, then you are not a fan and you certainly can’t go for an Avengers film and say you liked it, cause that super shit is totally unbelievable!

The audience was on the edge of their seats as the action unfolded and Will Sawyer defied gravity over a transfixed Hong Kong. I have to say, though a lot of this film has CGI, it’s all very well executed. You shield your eyes when you don’t want to see something bad happen and yet have a smirk as you think, ‘that’s stupid’! And just to prove that this is an intelligent film that knows it’s playing out a fantasy from the 90s action films that it pays homage to, The Rock even has a piece of dialogue that says: “This is stupid.” But it’s the tiny things like him using his prosthetic leg to keep open a set of titanium doors that makes this all charming and delightful.


And to prove that it’s a modern take on action heroes, wife Sarah Sawyer (Neve Campbell) kicks some butt herself showing that she’s just as tough and smart as her hunky husband.

It seems people have lost their ability to let go and truly appreciate honest to goodness action like they used to serve up to us a few decades ago. When action heroes were just real men who fought for family, for country and for what was right, without the super powers. I’ll take those heroes over a caped crusader any day.


PS: There are actually a few disabled people in the world who were upset that Dwayne Johnson took the part instead of letting a real disabled person play it (Is Dwayne Johnson’s disabled role in Skyscraper ‘offensive’?). I hope they realise that it’s called ‘acting’ for a reason. But there are many who loved his portrayal, so read about that Dwayne Johnson’s new film sparks debate about disabled representation


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