The summer season is all about fun and relaxed times. There is a sense of "don't worry about it, just enjoy it" and at times Hollywood releases films with that in mind. 'Skyscraper' can be labeled as a guilt-free-film for this weekend. It is not a heavy-thinking film but has the strongest and most charming actor in the lead. Nothing anchors a movie better than Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. Fans will flock to the theatres just to see the beloved actor flex his muscle in the most intricate action-sequences in any film.
The story follows Will Sawyer (Johnson) a former FBI agent as he gets an opportunity to secure the tallest, and most expensive, building in Hong Kong through his at-home security company. The magnanimous building is a state-of-the-art construction with all the bells and whistles one may expect in modern times and beyond all due Zao Long Ji's fortune and ambition. 'The Pearl', as the building is referred to, is the safest ever built. But nothing is really as it seems as Will finds himself in the middle of an underworld vendetta against Zao and runs to save hi s life, reputation, and family.
The plot may sound like serious business but that is not the case. The script is full of one-liners and cliches that will make some people in the audience laugh out loud. Perhaps that is the intent that Rawson Marshall Thurber had in mind. His previous efforts ('We're the Millers' and 'Central Intelligence') are in the action and comedies realm so perhaps that spilled over into this story too. That is not to say that is not effective, but one should not expect a serious tone in 'Skyscraper' either. It is purely popcorn fodder - no more and no less.
'The Rock' is what works in the film. It is that persona and charm that really delivers the action and even the silliest moments in the film. Any other actor behind this character will probably miss the mark. Dwayne Jonhson works it through every detail, action scene and one-liners that seems out of place, so when he says; "Daddy loves who?" is almost as if he gives a sly wink to the audience who is aware of what is going on. There is also the fact that his character is an amputee, so the physicality and presence is a change of pace for the actor who is often seen as a powerhouse - this time around he gets punched as much as the bad guys do.
'Skyscraper' also marks the return of Neve Campbell to films. Unlike other wives who are victimized, her role is action-driven and ultimately someone who helps the hero too. Some audience members (within my age group perhaps) would be glad to see the Scream franchise actress do what she loves to do: create a strong female character. It is also worth noting that the film includes other amazing actors like Tzi Ma, Byron Mann, and Chin Han that represent a most-needed inclusion of minority actors in the film industry. Now, if only writers can expand the one-dimensional characters then every film would be a richer experience too.
Oh, summertime! The easy or midsummer craziness that everyone gets into. Nothing says it better than this film. It does not have a complicated story or dialogue to make anyone in the audience overthink while watching. It has 'The Rock', some well-executed action sequences, and brilliant actors. The only thing missing is the popcorn bag and wittier banter - but audiences can bring that to the movie theatres this time around.