By John Liu
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Can you believe Dwayne Johnson has been the main lead or played a major role in five movies over the last 15 months? There is Fate of the Furious, Baywatch, Jumanji, Rampage, and now Skyscraper. Skyscraper is a collaboration between Universal and Legendary, which usually means the movie is targeted to audiences in China and the United States.
The Skyscraper movie trailers wanted to emphasize two things. The “impossible leap” that Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) makes from a crane to the skyscraper has been shown numerous times.
Did Johnson actually perform that jump? I will let you figure it out. The Pearl is a 3,500 foot tall fictional building located in Hong Kong and created by Zhao Long Ji (Ng Chin Han). It contains a 30-story botanical garden and a spherical viewing room at the top of the 230th floor. Wind turbines inside the building allow the Pearl to be completely energy efficient. I know what you are thinking. You wish the Pearl was a real skyscraper in Hong Kong because it would probably have the best restaurants, too!
Sawyer was hired by Zhao Long Ji as a security consultant for the Pearl and is in charge of making sure everything is ready for the grand opening of the 130th floor residential area located in the upper section of the building. The only residents living there is Sawyer’s family — his wife Sarah (played by Neve Campbell), and their two kids. Campbell has been relatively quiet on the movie scene since being featured in the horror series Scream as Sidney Prescott. A group of henchmen take out the Pearl’s security measures and start a fire on the 100th floor. They disable the anti-fire safety measures so the fire will burn upwards. Sawyer’s family is now trapped above the fireline, hence the crazy leap I mentioned before. On top of that, Sawyer has to do all that while being framed for the crime.
Let me quickly run through the Asian cast: Inspector Wu (Byron Mann aka Street Fighter: Ryu) and Sergeant Han (Elfina Luk) lead the Hong Kong police with securing the Pearl after the fire starts; Xia (Hannah Quinlivan aka Jay Chou’s wife) plays a villain; and Tzi Ma makes a brief appearance as a fire chief. I really enjoyed the “Easter Eggs” of the supporting cast. Sad to say, most of the Asian cast is completely forgettable in the movie. There should have been fewer Asian actors and more time to develop some of these characters with more meaningful scenes.
Skyscraper is pretty boring and predictable. The dialogue is flat and jokes are few and far between.
The best jokes are about duct tape. In fact, there are enough of them that you would think duct tape paid a hefty sum of money to be featured in the movie. There are plenty of scenes looking down from the skyscraper that I got vertigo a few times, but not enough for me to get sick. I imagine those scenes in 3D must be pretty wild, but sadly I saw this movie in 2D. By the time the movie is over, you will wonder what the heck you just watched.
Skyscraper raked in $67 million domestically in five days, so it will fall far short of its $125 million budget. Skyscraper topped China’s box office with a $48 million opening on July 20, so there is still hope, just not in the United States. I predict this movie will do much better there. Skyscraper is currently playing at local cinemas.
John can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.