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REVIEW: Not Even Dwayne Johnson Could Make Skyscraper Worthwhile

If you've ever caught yourself wishing for a remake of Die Hard with about ninety percent less charm, you might be in luck. Skyscraper somehow manages to shoot for just about every beloved 80s action movie trope and miss them by miles, all while being, somehow and against all odds, completely and inexplicably boring.

Following roughly the same plot as that time social media lost its mind over the raccoon who got stuck climbing the outside of a building, Skyscraper centers around Dwayne Johnson playing Will Sawyer, a square jawed ex-military man who lost his leg in the One Job That Went Bad before settling down to have a family and become a private security consultant. We meet him as he's just been hired into a huge job in Hong Kong -- the world's tallest skyscraper (you know, like the name of the movie) the Pearl is preparing to open its residential areas, and he's doing the security audit. Also, his wife (Neve Campbell) and kids (McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell) have come with him on the trip, for some reason, so they're staying in the building as its first-ever guests.

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Of course, things immediately go south. Johnson's traumatic past catches up with him, terrorists -- wait, excuse me, crime syndicates -- light one of the upper floors on fire, Johnson's family is caught inside, he has to fight his way in to save them all while the city of Hong Kong looks on in awe and terror. It takes about thirty five minutes for that to actually start happening, strangely enough, and when it does, it all feels somehow slow. For a movie that wants to sell itself as a massive set piece for cool stunts done by a beloved former WWE superstar, a huge amount of time is spent lingering on absolutely run-of-the-mill fist fights in utterly mundane locations.

In fairness, sometimes things do get a little interesting. At one point, Johnson fashions a pair of sticky gloves out of rolled up duct tape in order to shuffle along the outside of the building like Spider-Man, and it's pretty funny. Another big moment takes place in a neat but completely non-sequitur super high tech hall of mirrors that has some nice visual effects layered in. But other than that? There's just not that much here.

Johnson's character gets by with the power of Loving His Family A Lot, Neve Campbell is put squarely on exposition duty, and the kids are charming and cute for the five minutes or so of screen time they're allowed to have that isn't screaming for their dad to come save them.

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There are a handful of scenes that make it seem like the movie was almost trying to push over the threshold into extreme action camp, which might have helped it significantly, but it never actually commits to the bit. Instead, when the villain looking directly into the camera to declare "When you set a man's house on fire, then you see what he truly loves," for no discernible reason; it just comes off as awkward. Johnson using his prosthetic leg as a prop gag? It just feels weird. Sure there's a scene or two that managed to fish out some half-hearted laughs, but all in all, it missed the comedy bus almost entirely.

The end result is a movie that simply isn't fun to watch. It probably could have been, had it just been a bit more clear with what it wanted to be and who it wanted to be for, but instead what we got was a half hearted shrug of an action film assuming name recognition would do the heavy lifting for it.

Just go dust off those old Twitter moments and re-read the story of that poor raccoon. It'll take up less of your time, and probably feel more fun in the end.

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