Review: Skyscraper

A man goes to great lengths to save his family from a state of the art high rise in Skyscraper. FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) gets a job as a security consultant at The Pearl, a 220 story state of the art skyscraper in Hong Kong, built by Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han). As Sawyer is doing his final inspections, before the residential section of the town is open to the public, a group of terrorists lead by Kores Botha (Roland Møller) take over the the building’s systems and ignites a fire, in an effort to get an important device from Zhao. With his wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) and two children trapped in the burning building, Sawyer does everything he can to rescue them.

Skyscraper is an action film from director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence), which focuses on one man trying to save his family from a building taken over by terrorists. Skyscraper begins with a flashback showing a failed hostage situation, which left Will Sawyer a broken man with an amputated leg. A decade later, Sawyer’s former colleague Ben (Pablo Schreiber) secures Sawyer a security job in The Pearl, which is presented by its architect Zhao Long Ji a city in the sky. However, as Sawyer is inspecting the building’s security, a group of terrorists steal his tablet and use Sawyer’s clearance to take over the building. With the authorities believing that he himself is responsible for the terrorist attack, Sawyer risks everything to break into the burning Pearl and save his trapped family.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to draw up comparisons between Skyscraper and Die Hard, the latter of which is, not too coincidentally, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. However, it also apparent that Skyscraper is a film that is not really aimed at an American audience. With the last number of years seeing a boom in the box office in China, it is probably not that surprising that Skyscraper is set in Hong Kong, with a predominantly Asian supporting cast, save for a few token characters, such as Noah Taylor randomly appearing as Zhao Long Ji’s aide Mr. Pierce.

Even though the plot of Skyscraper is comparable to Die Hard, it is no where near as entertaining as that film. In fact, Dwayne Johnson’s character of Will Sawyer is no where near the wisecracking John McClane, save for a few quips about duct tape. Instead, he’s more prone to death-defying stunts, such as jumping from a crane to a burning building. In addition, Danish actor Roland Møller has zero charisma as the villain Kores Botha, to the point that I wish they cast and Alan Rickman type in the role.

Altogether, Skyscraper is a mildly entertaining action film, with a very cliched “Die Hard Lite” plot.