The signature promotional image of Skyscraper the latest Dwayne Johnson summer extravaganza, features the charismatic blockbuster star hanging from a soaring building by only his left hand. His wedding ring gleams prominently in the foreground illuminated by the deadly blaze that’s raging all around him.
The ring draws our attention as powerfully as the earnest intensity in his eyes a reminder that—not unlike the “Fast & Furious” franchise in which Johnson figures so prominently—this story is all about #family. Mainly, though, it’s a mindless mash-up of Die Hard and The Towering Inferno just intense enough to provide a much-needed diversion, just lightweight enough to make you forget about it soon after it’s over.
It’s not exactly good per se but it does what it sets out to do in terms of putting us on edge, which makes it … successful But writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber has attempted the problematic combination of making you feel good about bravery and resilience while also making you feel nothing about the countless bodies that get blown to bits in a hail of automatic gunfire.
Many, many people die needlessly in this PG-13 spectacle in the name of thrills, maybe Character development? The international cadre of criminals who take over a Hong Kong high-rise the tallest structure in the world, three times the size of the Empire State Building – are clearly, singularly bad.
Having them burst into people’s offices and obliterate them entirely while the camera steers away from the bloodshed, per MPAA guidelines—feels gratuitous. You’re not here to think, though. You’re here to have fun, and “Skyscraper” does indeed provide that in its many dizzying and death-defying action sequences. It’s the connective tissue between the daring stunts that’s flimsy.