by George Wolf
My wife says if I can’t get through this without mentioning Die Hard, I owe her ten bucks.
So how much will The Towering Inferno cost me?
Get over it, right? Those are decades old.
Fair enough. Ideas are born to be borrowed, and the real question is how well Skyscraper assembles its inspirations. The answers come without apology, cranked up to full tilt boogie until the rubble-strewn, crowd pleasing finale.
Of course Dwayne Johnson stars as Will Seymour, a former Marine and FBI hostage negotiator now working as a security expert. A tragedy on his former job cost Will his left lower leg, but it led him to a perfect new life with his surgeon wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) and their two cute kids.
Will’s hired to assess the security measures at The Pearl in Hong Kong, the world’s new tallest building that is ready to open its luxurious residential upper half. Will’s intimidated by such a large assignment for his small firm, but there’s a specific reason he got the call.
There’s something in The Pearl’s vault that is very valuable to international terrorist Kores Botha (Roland Moller), and Will is part of the plan to take it from the skyscraper’s visionary designer (Chin Han).
Who’s the fly in that high rise ointment? The monkey in the wrench? It’s The F. Rock
Writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball, We’re the Millers, Central Intelligence) trades comedy for disaster thrills with the tangible relish of a kid trading flashcards for the latest XNintendoBox 64 in 3D.
The heroics are grand in scale, engulfed in flames and often unveiled with gasp-inducing effects that consistently poke at our fear of heights. The pace is quick, Johnson serves up his usual good guy charisma and Campbell gets to be more than just a loving bystander.
And it all could only be more ridiculous if Will and Botha got in the Face/Off machine and switched identities.
The film’s plot turns and callbacks get so shameless it nearly pauses for applause, but the commitment is so unabashed and the spectacle so summer-ready, Skyscraper wins you over with pure “are you not entertained?” tenacity.