Early on in Skyscraper, before there are terrorists and fires and falling, Dwayne Johnson’s Will Sawyer, the new security head at a giant Hong Kong skyscraper called “The Pearl,” is taken to a very special room inside the tower by its owner, Zhao Min Zhi (Chin Han). I hereby submit this room has to be the most ridiculous room in movie history. In this giant room, dozens and dozens of screens emerge from the floor, projecting live images of both Will Sawyer and Zhao Min Zhi, creating a couple of “that’s not me, it’s a screen; I’m actually over here!” moments. There’s no godly reason why this room would ever exist in any sort of reality other than to stage a climatic fight at the end of an action movie. Which happens here because of course it does – why else would they show us this ridiculous room?
Honestly, if the whole movie were as silly as that room, I probably would have been on board with Skyscraper. The biggest problem with Skyscraper is it’s a little better than you think it might be, which somehow makes it worse. As in, it takes itself a bit too seriously, which makes most of the movie feel kind of dull. (I saw Skyscraper in a theater three fourths full with non-media moviegoers who seemed pretty pumped for some Skyscraper action, so it was remarkable how quiet the theater was for most of the movie.)
Will Sawyer is an ex-FBI agent who lost his leg in a hostage negotiation gone wrong. He’s now moved to Hong Kong with his wife, Sarah (Neve Campbell), and two kids for this job at “The Pearl,” Hong Kong’s newest tall building. Now, Johnson and Campbell are both pretty great in this. Johnson is for sure going for something with more depth, as he’s playing a man with a disability who is not superhuman (though he still does plenty of superhuman things). And it’s great to see Campbell as a military surgeon who can also handle herself in a fight. In other words: she has quite a bit to do in this movie. (What a waste it would have been to hire Neve Campbell and waste her talents in this, which we see over and over in similar situations, but thankfully that doesn’t happen.) The problem is Johnson and Campbell both give it their all in a story that just kind of fails them. Try as they might, they can’t save it.