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'Skyscraper' is ripoff of earlier, better 'Die Hard'
What's in with Justin
the rock in skyscraper
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson delivers lots of action in "Skyscraper," but little else. - photo by Studio photo
“Skyscraper” manages to be a passable action thriller, but just barely passable. It could easily be described as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s version of “Die Hard,” but not nearly as smart or clever that action classic.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as Will Sawyer, a former Marine turned FBI agent, turned amputee who lives with his family in a giant skyscraper called The Pearl. It’s the largest and safest skyscraper in the entire world. “Fort Knox a mile high,” The Rock says at one point. Sawyer works as head of security for the building, but he thinks there are some cracks in the system and those cracks come in the form of armed terrorists who hold the building hostage.
Neve Campbell from the “Scream” movies costars as his wife who has to lead her family away from danger when Johnson is away and can’t get to them, but she proves to be very resourceful, given her background as a combat nurse. That’s how she and Johnson met, after an unfortunate accident that prompted his amputation. Campbell is really good as his wife. She doesn’t have to worry about any of the terrorists wearing a Ghostface mask.
The rest of the movie contains a series of action sequences that seemed ripped off from “Die Hard,” but it also contains another subplot involving Johnson being framed for murder when the terrorists strike and now it’s turned into “Die Hard” meets “The Fugitive.” Again, not as smart as either of those films.
The movie loves to recycle virtually every durable action movie cliche in the book: When someone claims to be Johnson’s friend, they turn out to be the Judas. When Johnson finds out his family is in a part of the skyscraper that involves him using tactics that might send him to his death, he becomes a cartoonish superhero. Plus, let’s not forget a scene where Johnson has to cross certain wires in order to open a door.
I will say this about “Skyscraper:” You get your money’s worth in the action department. There are some terrific shots of Johnson in action and he can still carry a mindless movie like this solely on his charisma and physical prowess. He generates sympathy with his plight and he almost saves the movie. Almost.
For every leap forward with the effects, there’s a leap backward with the script. Normally, I can welcome implausibility, if it works enough for me, but when the plot elements are content on recycling what’s been done before and better, I draw the line.
Will this movie entertain the Friday night crowd? Certainly. However, this is not a very fresh or original action movie.
Grade: B-
Rated PG-13 for sequences of gun violence and action, and for brief strong language.

Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.

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