By now, I think most people know what they’re getting into when they go see a Dwayne Johnson flick. I’m always torn between accepting the movie for what it is and questioning whether it’s even fair for me, or any viewer, to have to accept tempered expectations when going to see one of his movies. It’s a constant struggle between my inherent, biased, unconditional love I have for The Rock I grew up with and my desire to see him act in a movie that can truly be called “good”. Sadly, Skyscraper only served to fuel the eternal flame of this struggle.
While I was watching the movie, Kris Baron posed an interesting question within our group. Is The Rock as big as Arnold Schwarzenegger was in his prime? This really set me down a contemplative path, as I thought about the differences between these two titans of cinema. I don’t think the Rock will ever touch Arnold because sadly, there isn’t a single movie in his filmography that will ever go down as a classic. It’s easy to throw the blame on Dwayne Johnson for his poor movie choices. Surely a star who just set the record for the most money earned in a single year can make better choices, right? Well, I think the real problem is actually much bigger, and in a way, simpler. Action movies nowadays just plain suck. Is Arnold a better actor than Dwayne Johnson? Sure, I guess he is, albeit marginally. But the real problem is that action movies nowadays have foregone good dialogue, cohesive storytelling and character development in place of big set pieces, flashy CGI and emotional pandering. Every now and then someone strikes gold, but you’re going to have to sift through a lot of dirt to find them.
Therein lies the problem with Skyscraper. The story was formulaic and surprisingly uninspired considering the subject matter. The dialogue was terrible and was clearly designed to spoon feed the plot to the audience. There wasn’t a single unpredictable moment and the story chugged along exactly how you would expect. My biggest problem however was with the tonal inconsistency of this movie. Early fight scenes had excellent choreography and a gritty, realistic feel. Maybe The Rock is actually human in this movie? Oh wait, nope he just climbed a thousand foot crane in 5 minutes and held up a collapsing bridge with his bare hands. The frustration continued to build until I remembered that this is a Rock movie and perhaps I let my expectations get a little wild. Was the movie entertaining? Sure, the set design was impressive, the effects were well done, the tension was strong, the fight choreography was great, and Dwayne Johnson was his usual charming, smoldering, overall likable self. That’s where the positivity ends..
Here’s the funny, unexplainable part though…I still kind of liked the movie. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not good. It is very flawed, doesn’t really accomplish what I think it set out to do, and is objectively a bad movie. But goddamnit if there is isn’t something about The Rock that just transcends our sad, puny, mortal understanding of what makes a good movie. Should you go watch it? Like I said, I think you already know what you’re getting into.
Production Design: 8/10
Overall Score: 6.5/10