He’s the king of the blockbusters and now Dwayne Johnson is back on the big screen and overcoming some enormous obstacles in a display of heroism and courage at its most extreme in Skyscraper.
After FBI Hostage Rescue leader Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) suffers a terrible tragedy in the line of duty he is left a changed man and has to comes to terms with civilian life. Now a structural security expert, Will and his family have relocated to Hong Kong in order for Will to complete an analysis on The Pearl, a super structure of heavenly heights. But on the eve of the buildings completion a hostile takeover is implemented and Will sees his family taken prisoner. Breaking loose of his limits Will must now do everything in his power to save his family before its too late.
When you think of the words movie star hero Dwayne Johnson invariably always comes to mind and over the last decade he has carved out a name for himself for delivering bigger than life heroics in films such Hercules and The Fast and the Furious franchise. And in Skyscraper the mighty Rock is once again called upon to save the day. But this time The Rock’s courage is tested in a whole other way.
While he starts off as a Special Forces badass a traumatic and tragic accident robs him of his badass level and instead he’s left as an ordinary man who has to fight more everyday battles as an amputee while also struggling to reconcile what he’s lost. It’s a real step into vulnerability for Johnson and provides him his most dramatic role since 2013’s Snitch (which I still believe is one of his best ever films). While there are plenty of heroics in Skyscraper they come as the result of an ordinary man stepping up to the fight and going against all odds to achieve the impossible and in doing so Johnson honours the everyday first responders and veterans who have given so much for their country, but who continue to get after it every single day.
As Will Sawyer Johnson shows off his flaws, but also the mighty courage that every man possesses and how that when the chips are down you’ve just gotta dig deep to get through it…and that’s exactly what he does here. When his family is threatened by Roland Moller’s nasty criminal Botha, in what is a great part for the Danish thespian and all around terrific rising talent, Johnson’s Sawyer is willing to accomplish the impossible and breaks free of his confines in order to do it. And in this instance his disabilities become a strength and actually help him in some very cool and unexpected ways. While it’s cool to just think of The Rock as the hard charging Hobbs, in my mind Will Sawyer is the character who directly showcases his distinct life philosophy using ‘will to find a way’ and it’s a really great performance.
They also say that behind every great man is an even greater woman and here she comes in the form of Neve Campbell’s Sarah Sawyer, a former Navy combat surgeon who has now found love with Will and is helping him in his journey back to life. While Campbell is undoubtedly our generation’s scream queen here she’s a fierce alpha mama who will do whatever she has to protect her children and just like her husband pushes deep to conquer the impossible. Campbell and Johnson have a great everyday chemistry together and you completely buy the life that their characters have made together. I’ve got my fingers crossed that we see them in further films together because they make a really great pair.
If you’re looking for action…we’ll you’ve found it. And this time it’s at 3,500 feet! Johnson knows how to go big and it doesn’t get much bigger than this. While I can’t dive into too many specifics without jumping into spoiler territory I will say that the action here is extreme! There are some seriously freaky vertigo moments here and I readily found myself bracing the edges of my seat as Johnson dived head first into the stratosphere. There are some particularly gnarly moments and director Rawson Marshall Thurber amps them up to the edge with a ticking clock and the rising fire. This is exactly how I like my action cinema, where every moment, every action and every second counts and Skyscraper utterly delivers on it.
I’ve also gotta say that if nominations are open then Dwayne Johnson is definitely up for Father of the Year here as Will Sawyer. The theme of family and its importance really drives his performance and it’s a testament of what a family will do for each other in the most difficult of situations. Every kid likes to see their dad as a superhero and that’s definitely what Will Sawyer transitions to in this.
Again I must stress that you need to be ready to be on the edge of your seat with Skyscraper because this is action cinema that really takes things to the extreme. It’s a portrait of heroism and courage in the most difficult of situations and reminds you that you should never give up on yourself when things get hard. And it also happens to be a whole lot of fun at the same time so make sure get after it and catch Skyscraper now!
Image: Universal Pictures