(Photo Credit: Universal Pictures)
Dwayne Johnson’s (“Rampage”) latest summer action blockbuster “Skyscraper” presents an interesting dilemma.
The action scenes deliver even though some seem far-fetched.
“Skyscraper” contains suspense even though the conclusion never appears in doubt.
And the acting measures up to good action films thanks to good performances by Johnson and Neve Campbell (“Party of Five”).
But ranking this film has become harder than film ranking usually is for RegalMag.com.
Is “Skyscraper” enjoyable? Yes.
Is the film visually appealing? Sometimes.
But is “Skyscraper” worth seeing more than once, which is the litmus test to receiving at least three crowns? Maybe. Maybe not.
In the film “Skyscraper,” Will Sawyer (Johnson) is a dedicated hostage negotiator for the FBI in Ash Lake, Minn.
When a hostage standoff turns even more tragic and dangerous, Will finds his life totally transformed forever.
He loses a leg.
He moves on from his job with the FBI.
But 10 years later, the tragic incident in Minnesota gives him a wife, Sarah (Campbell) and two adorable twins.
While Sarah enjoys a dependable and successful job as a nurse, Will works as an insurance entrepreneur out of his family’s garage.
So when an old colleague, Ben (Pablo Schreiber) from the FBI calls him with a dream opportunity in Hong Kong, Will jumps at the opportunity to take his career to the next level.
Ben works for Chinese real estate tycoon Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han) who has developed the world’s tallest commercial building called The Pearl with well over 200 floors.
The Pearl has office space; residences, an indoor park and other amenities that make all other real estate developments look like child’s play.
But since The Pearl is such a unique and gigantic building, it is hard for The Pearl to receive insurance.
Therefore, Ben calls in his friend in the insurance business, Will to get the final approval for the structure before they are allowed to sell the residences to the public.
Ben thinks The Pearl will be a great opportunity for Will’s fledgling business and a good opportunity for Zhao since Will’s offer was so much cheaper than his competitors.
Will is amazed by the structure almost immediately.
He even learns a little Chinese in an attempt to impress Zhao and persuade him to do business with his company.
Will, Sarah and the twins, Georgia (McKenna Roberta) and Henry (Noah Cottrell) are the first to occupy the residences on the 96th floor of The Pearl.
While Will conducts business with Zhao and Ben, Sarah and the twins set off to see the pandas at the Hong Kong zoo.
Thanks to Ben, the children will receive VIP treatment at the zoo.
However, when Henry has an accident, the family has to cut the trip short and return to The Pearl.
Meanwhile, Will has done enough to persuade Zhao to hire his company to conduct the insurance inspection.
Working for Zhao gives Will access to a tablet that controls much of The Pearl from opening doors to enabling the sprinkling system in case of a fire.
Although The Pearl is over 200 stories, the sprinkling and security systems make it virtually impossible to burn down without access to the tablet.
And since only two people currently have access to the tablet, The Pearl is virtually impenetrable.
Not so fast my friend as ESPN’s Lee Corso would say.
When Ben and Will board a ferry after the meeting with Zhao, Will is assaulted by local goons who make off with his briefcase.
Ben thinks Will has truly messed up, but when Will informs Ben that the tablet was in his coat pocket and not the briefcase things change even more drastically.
Meanwhile, thugs have penetrated the supposedly impenetrable building and set it ablaze with the rest of the Sawyer family trapped on the 96th floor.
When Will and Zhao lose control over the sprinkling and security system in The Pearl, it is up to Will to try to save his wife and twins who are trapped in the skyscraper and facing and almost certain death.
“Skyscraper” then unfolds into a father and husband’s undying devotion to save and protect his family no matter how tall the obstacles seem.
Critiquing action movies like the ones Johnson stars in should not get ranked based on the way critics rank Oscar contenders.
Too many critics take their jobs too seriously and do not know how to separate fun films from films seeking recognition on the awards circuit.
Summer blockbusters like “Skyscraper” are just that, blockbusters designed to give everyday movie fans what they want in an escape from reality during the summertime.
Fans of summer blockbusters often want to see explosions, car chases, fistfights, gunfights, villains and the good guy who saves the day.
Those fans are not looking for performances by thespians that studied drama at Ivy League schools.
“Skyscraper” gives fans of summer blockbusters what they are looking for with the action, suspense and violence that many crave.
However, “Skyscraper” is predictable and a little outrageous like many of Johnson’s films.
There is a scene where he leaps buildings in a single bound with one good leg trying to get to the 96th floor of The Pearl, which looks outrageous.
Movies are not necessarily supposed to be realistic, but some semblance of realism is needed in some movies.
In superhero movies, science fiction flicks and horror films people expect to see an alternate universe or alternate reality. But some action movies need to stick with some sense of realism if the movie starts off in a realistic fashion like “Skyscraper.”
But do not let that harsh assessment sway you.
“Skyscraper” is still worth checking out one time.
The problem that many critics have is that once a person has seen basically every movie to come out, it becomes extremely difficult to be impressed.
Often, it takes something totally unique like the film “The Shape of Water.”
Other times, it takes magnificent performances like Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in “The Revenant.”
But critics are not most moviegoers.
Many moviegoers just want to have a good time and an escape from the grind and stress of real life.
Movie fans do not face the same dilemma as movie critics, so take that into consideration while reading every critique.