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Not even Dwayne Johnson’s biceps can keep Skyscraper upright

Vicky Sparks Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson can fight anyone and anything with his supersized muscles and good guy charm.
Film Title: Skyscraper
Dwayne Johnson stars as a former FBI agent who must rescue his family from a burning building in Skyscraper. Legendary Pictures, Copyright: © 2018 Universal Studios

Vicky Sparks

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson can fight anyone and anything with his supersized muscles and good guy charm.

Over the past three years we’ve seen him fight earthquakes (San Andreas), the cast of the Fast and Furious franchise (Fast and the Furious 7 and Instagram), Kevin Hart (Central Intelligence), video games (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), and just three months ago we saw him fight 30-foot wolves and alligators able to grab helicopters out of the sky (Rampage).

What could possibly be left for him to take on?

Surprise! It’s buildings!

That’s right, in this sloppy, lazy mash up of Towering Inferno and Die Hard, Dwayne Johnson fights his ultimate enemy – a 220-story Hong Kong skyscraper filled with fire, terrorists and, most importantly, his family.

Will Sawyer (Johnson) is an ex-FBI hotshot who lost part of his leg in a hostage rescue gone very wrong. The film picks up 10 years later with his family (which now includes a wife played by Neve Campbell and a set of boy-girl twins) in Hong Kong.

Will now works in private security and is auditing the security system of the world’s tallest building, the Pearl. When bad guys sent to steal a USB drive from the building’s owner try to draw him out by setting the tower on fire, they don’t realize Will’s family is also staying there.

Will must fight his way in by climbing an adjacent crane and launch a mathematically impossible jump through a broken window. But the laws of physics are no match for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who then fights for another 45 minutes to save his family.

If they paid the screenwriter of this film 50 bucks it was $49.50 too much. The dialogue is cringe worthy (for some reason, Johnson can only refer to himself in the third person as Daddy for most of it), characters are outlines of overused caricatures, and the only moment worthy of a chuckle comes from what appears to be a paid product placement for duct tape.

The lone bright spot is Campbell’s wife character. Based on the rest of the writing, you’d expect her to be 20 years younger than Johnson and forced to strip into a bikini while using her clothes to save someone. But she’s actually a badass, a military surgeon who is tough and brave and has superhuman upper body strength when needed.

Some will say this is a summer popcorn movie with 90 minutes of non-stop action. But the truth is, the action is so over the top and so full of CGI (computer generated images) that you never for a moment wonder if any of it is real – it so obviously isn’t.

Johnson’s talents deserve much better than this schlock. Instead of churning out a low-grade action movie every three months, he should take a break, rest those biceps and wait for a script that wasn’t written on the back of a cocktail napkin.

We would all be better for it.

Vicky Sparks is a Bright’s Grove native and movie critic for Global TV’s The Morning Show, which airs nationally on Fridays. Her Journal Reviews cover movies playing at Galaxy Cinemas Sarnia


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