When I entered the theater on July 14, the manager asked me to which movie was I headed. When I told him I was going to see “Skyscraper,” he grinned and said, “Dumb fun.” He nailed it, but I later told him that the film was not as dumb as some of Dwayne Johnson’s other films. We agreed that the film borrows heavily from “Towering Inferno” and the first “Die Hard” film. After I saw the first three or four minutes, I knew that the climax would be based upon the famous climax of Orson Welles’s “The Lady from Shanghai.”
Johnson plays a badly wounded veteran whose small security firm has been given the job of evaluating the security for a new Hong Kong skyscraper called “The Pearl.” (I can’t resist making puns about pearls of great price or casting pearls before swine.) Of course, everything goes wrong quickly.
Watching Johnson make his way from the ground floor to the 200th floor is breathtaking. Bruce Willis never attempted the stunts Johnson uses. I saw the 2-D version, but I think the 3-D version would be even more overwhelming. I have more than a whiff of vertigo and acrophobia in my psyche, and they were in full gear during most of the film.
Johnson’s painful ascent of the Pearl is motivated by his need to rescue his family. His wife is played by an actress I had cheerfully forgotten, Neve Campbell. She is a highly skilled surgeon who carries scalpels and all sorts of useful implements in her pockets, so the villains have as much trouble with her as they do with Johnson.
All’s well that ends well: the owner of The Pearl is all set to rebuild his prized possession. Does that mean a sequel? Is that a rhetorical question?