Yes, it's very similar to Die Hard.

I'm starting off with that since that's all anyone seems to talk about when it comes to the latest from Dwayne Johnson, Skyscraper. Yes, it's about a superhuman man who has to save his family from a terrorist plot against a skyscraper, and while it's been a while since I've seen the original Bruce Willis classic I could feel the similarities throughout.

However, I've long been a believer that movies, music, and art can be derivative all they want to be, as long as said derivative work is enjoyable in its own right. Does Skyscraper fit the bill? Well, I think it does. 

The film stars Dwayne "The Movie Making Machine" Johnson as security analyst Will Sawyer, a former Marine and FBI agent, who has been hired to conduct a thorough report on the tallest building in the world; The Pearl, located in Hong Kong Harbor and dwarfing the real-life largest Burj Kalifa. Things go awry when a group of mercenaries set the building on fire, and Sawyer's wife and two children are trapped above the fire line.

His efforts to save his family and figure out what the terrorists are up to make up the rest of Skyscraper, which I am tempted to call an "action filled romp" despite the cliche of that phrase. I do think it fits, though, as Skyscraper is fun. Like, a lot of fun. While I'm kind of getting sick of seeing The Rock every two months on the big screen, he is a talented actor who can adapt himself well enough. Obviously, his character is incredibly and wildly unrealistic, but so is John McClane, so it didn't bother me too much.

Universal Pictures via YouTube
Universal Pictures via YouTube

I liked that Will Sawyer was portrayed as an amputee as well, and this isn't a fact that's brought up once and never mentioned again; his lack of a leg, and his prosthetic, play roles throughout the film.

His wife is a veteran as well; Neve Campbell plays Sarah Sawyer, and while I wish she appeared more she does have a fight scene that is satisfying to watch. It would certainly have been neat to see a husband-wife teamup to fight the terrorists, though.

Speaking of the terrorists, Roland Møller plays the wicked Kores Botha, the head of the mercenaries who fills the Hans Gruber role in Skyscraper. Instead of being German, he's Scandinavian, but I guess they couldn't make this film if they didn't have their creepy European mastermind.

The only other main player in the film is Chin Han as Zhao Long Ji, the billionaire who built The Pearl. He's alright, but his love for fine architecture brings me to my favorite part of Skyscraper; the atmosphere.

Universal Pictures via YouTube
Universal Pictures via YouTube

The Pearl itself is, as is fitting for a fantasy, a wonderfully detailed and enjoyable look at what the future might hold for architecture. Featuring things like a multi-story garden in its center, and giant wind turbines mounted near its top, The Pearl a great place to set a film. I have a strong fascination for Arcology, the field of developing megastructures that can house millions of people who wouldn't need to ever leave the building if they didn't want. I don't think I'd ever want to live in one, but it's a growing area that I watch with interest.

I'm also intensely glad they set this film in Hong Kong, as it only adds to the whole feeling of the film. There's just something I love about the aesthetics of mega-cities in Asia, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tokyo, Singapore, etc.

Is this movie groundbreaking? Hell no! Is it fantastic? No! But is it enjoyable? Oh yes it is. And you know what? That's all I ask for in an action movie.

I wish they hadn't called it Skyscraper though. What a terribly generic name for a film.

See the trailer below.

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