1 ½ (out of 4)
Unlike the everyman thrills of Die Hard or the classic disaster movie elements of The Towering Inferno, Skyscraper seems convinced it isn't a dumb action movie at heart. For that fact alone, and particularly as an obvious rip-off of better dumb movies, it's even more disposable.
In a rush to compress its three acts into as little time as possible, the latest vehicle to honor Dwayne Johnson's still-scorching moment in the sun assumes that mere brevity will forgive the triteness of every component of its dialogue and plotting. The sheer schlock of Skyscraper comes without any wink or nods; each piece of stupid is played straight. If you know exactly what you’re getting into and don’t think for even a minute, I can imagine giving into the film's ever so modest pleasures. For most people though, I'd wager they would jump off this crazy train before the final act even starts.
For the moment or two that actually provide a suspenseful jolt, Skyscraper is teeming many times over with scenes that will have you snickering to yourself. The film’s inherent goofiness – rather jarring against the semi-sincere tone of the whole enterprise – only escalates as Skyscraper’s boilerplate story ratchets up. The film is beyond predictable with every cliché in the action movie template making a cameo. Still, this movie exists because of The Rock and he proves to be as intimidating as he's ever been even with a prosthetic leg, and just as lovable too.
Robert Elswit’s Oscar-winning touch in cinematography was vital in furthering the recent Mission: Impossible resurgence of Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation, both of which highlighted tangible action and deep, vivid colors. The lucidity of his hand is lost in Skyscraper as all the half-assed visual effects surrounding our generic set of characters tarnish some creditable visual direction. When you have me fondly reminiscing over the much more palatable mediocrity of 2015's San Andreas, something's gone terribly awry.
To keep it brief...
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