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Opening Date
12 Jul 2018
PG13 Some Violence And Coarse Language
102 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Action, Thriller
Rawson Marshall Thurber
Dwayne Johnson, Chin Han, Hannah Quinlivan, Neve Campbell
Global icon Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) leads as former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Ford, who now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in Hong Kong, he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze and he is being framed for it. Wanted and 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.
By Thompson Wong  12 Jul 2018
Skyscraper is undoubtedly loud, as action movies should be. It's silly, as action movies should be too.
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The story begins with mysterious entrepreneur Zhao (Chin Han), who has built Hong Kong's tallest building. Will Sawyer (Johnson) is Zhao's chief security consultant, and therefore has the privilege of being the building's first resident together with his family. Sabotage by a variety of actors naturally occurs faster than one can recite "Skyscraper", and Sawyer embarks on a hunt to find his family and bring them to safety before everyone burns to death.

There is very little left to the imagination. Skyscraper is undoubtedly loud, as action movies should be. It's silly, as action movies should be too. But it does lack the little touches that elevate an action movie from okay to great, such as actual stakes, humour, or perhaps simply the usage of less CGI.

Suspending one's belief is also challenging here. Johnson tries to embody a relatable persona in Sawyer, but it doesn't work. There isn't enough desperation or conflict. Johnson's physique already shouts "superhero" a mile away, and it's hard to imagine Skyscraper ending in any way other than Johnson saving everyone. It doesn't help too that director Rawson Thurber casts Johnson in some truly ridiculous reality-bending scenes, such as his stunt in preventing a bridge from breaking apart. These feats of strength are almost Captain America-esque in their blatancy, and that's a fantasy movie.

Early interviews have cast the blandness on the fact Skyscraper is a Chinese-backed venture, but this is incongruous. Skyscraper's supporting cast of Asian and Asian-American actors is the film's redeeming factor. Taiwanese actress Hannah Quinlivan (or popularly known as Jay Chou's wife) plays a menacingly-styled assassin and Chin Han's Zhao is a believable character that conceals just enough to keep the suspense flowing. Perhaps it isn't a crime for an action film to be generic and safe, but Skyscraper could certainly have afforded to raise its own scriptwriting stakes.  

Full disclosure: I follow Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) on Instagram, and the dude has been promoting Skyscraper to death for a while now. The natural response is therefore to look forward to this action movie. Unfortunately, Skyscraper is a disappointing if serviceable action film that wastes Johnson's acting chops, save for a few moments of intrigue.
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