- James Mottram
- 11 July 2018
Even Dwayne Johnson can't save this disaster movie from descending into nonsense
'This is stupid,' mutters Dwayne Johnson as he edges his way across a high-tech high-rise in what might be the most self-aware line in cinema this year. Stupid, because Rawson Marshall Thurber's Hong Kong disaster flick is full of inane dialogue, substandard Euro-villains and preposterous set-pieces. Or stupid, because it takes on Die Hard and The Towering Inferno, the two classic skyscraper-set action movies, and loses.
To be fair, it does have Johnson, currently the world's most successful movie star. He can make just about anything watchable, even this nonsense. Here, he plays Will Sawyer, a former soldier and FBI veteran who lost his leg in a mission and married his nurse Sarah (Neve Campbell). Now he's a safety assessor for The Pearl – at 240-stories it's the tallest building in the world, so big it virtually has its own ecosystem.
Will, Sarah and their two kids have moved into the residential floors, prior to the other apartments being sold to the public. Then a fire breaks out, started by terrorists plotting to extract an incriminating flash drive from the project's super-rich developer, Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han). The first ludicrous moment comes as Will uses a crane and a leap of faith to get back into the burning behemoth as he tries to rescue Sarah and co.
As vertigo-inducing as it is, the CGI-heavy rendering of this super structure makes it all totally unbelievable. Rather like a man with a prosthetic leg taking on swathes of bad guys. Or a woman and child surviving a lift dropping dozens of floors. Thurber, who directed Johnson in Central Intelligence, doesn't seem bothered that logic has left the building. So far-fetched it might as well be science fiction, Skyscraper is this summer's dumbest blockbuster.
General release from Thu 12 Jul.