Disaster movie hits the heights

Neve Campbell (left) and Dwyane Johnson star in Skyscraper (CNS/Universal)

Skyscraper tells the story of an ex-FBI team leader who finds himself framed for a terrorist attack on “the tallest building in the world”. Source: ACOFB.

Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) loses his leg in a wartime rescue mission which goes wrong. He subsequently becomes the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team Leader, and later heads up a small company working in Hong Kong. Permanently disabled, and retired from the army, Will’s expertise lies in knowledgeably assessing the security of especially high buildings. He sets up home for his wife, Sarah (Neve Campbell) and their two children, and they become the first residents in The Pearl, the tallest and “safest” skyscraper in Hong Kong. When he is pulled in to evaluate the security installations of the towering skyscraper, the terrorists attack, a disastrous fire breaks out, and the building goes up in flames.

Will knows everything there is to know about any building’s vulnerability, and whether a building is impenetrable, but when The Pearl is attacked by terrorists, he is framed for the attack and blamed for setting the building on fire. His first thoughts are to rescue his wife and family, who are trapped high up above the 96th floor. The plot line has Will trying to clear his name while on the run from the police, finding out who is responsible for the terrorist attack, and rescuing his family from the blazing inferno.

The film is action-packed, and most of the action takes place high in the building which forms the movie’s major set piece. The building is an especially imposing structure with a stunning futuristic look in architecture. It reaches high into the sky, dominates the buildings around it, and symbolises America’s sophisticated modernity. It is the most technologically advanced structure of its kind in the world, we are told, and an attack on it is an attack on American supremacy and advanced technological know-how.

This is a disaster movie with a never-ending sense of adventure lying at its core, and it has some spectacularly impressive special-effects. While unsuitable for family viewing because of the action-violence it shows, it carries worthy messages of family commitment and togetherness. People, however, with a fear of very high places might be well-advised to stay at home. The movie trades imposingly, and very cleverly, on that fear in whatever way it can.

– Reviewed by Peter W. Sheehan, ACOFB

Skyscraper: Starring Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. Rated M (Action violence and coarse language). 102 min. In cinemas July 12.

FULL REVIEW

Skyscraper (ACOFB)

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