FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer now assesses security for skyscrapers after a traumatic encounter that has him walk away from police work. On assignment in Hong Kong, he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he’s been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name, and somehow rescue his family who are trapped inside the building.
There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned action flick starring The Rock, who plays maimed, security specialist Will Sawyer, to kick off the summer! In typical heroic fashion, this untouchable superman does it again. What Dwayne Johnson may lack in acting, he makes up for in sheer presence; fittingly then, there is meager dialogue in this film, including a lack of vulgarity. Therefore, the occasional profanity, especially the lone f-bomb, resonates all the more jarringly.
The antagonists in this movie spread a volatile chemical concoction on a floor in the skyscraper that erupts into ferocious flames for the length of the film, consuming various victims in shocking ways while the thugs continue to wreak havoc in an attempt to obtain a valuable device from the mastermind architect. The camera doesn’t hang around to examine their gory aftermath, but scores of policemen and civilians get mowed down with automatic weapons, blasted with explosive grenades, and smashed by moving vehicles. The initial fight scene, in particular, is especially brutal where a man is shot in the chest and dies, and The Rock barely escapes with his life.
It is, likewise, frightening to witness Sawyer leaping from a hundred-story-high crane, pulling shrapnel-like chunks of metal out of his chest, and jumping through fast-moving metal blades. The stunts are, indeed, breathtaking as he swings outside of the skyscraper repeatedly, at outrageous heights, dangling by his prosthetic leg and barely dodging unforeseen obstacles.
This devoted family man, however, is a perfect match for his wife and military doctor Sarah Sawyer (Neve Campbell) who has nerves of steel herself. Will’s daring efforts to rescue his wife and two kids against all odds from this burning monstrosity that is the tallest building in the world, is accompanied by Sarah’s wits and physical bravado. We see her make split-second, life-saving decisions, as well as drop-kick a bad guy in one quick move. It was great to see Campbell on the big screen again after such a long break!
As a result of extreme violence and profane language, Dove is unable to award Skyscraper the Dove-Approved Seal.
The Dove Take
In the end, The Rock looks as if he’s held together only by sweat, dirt, torn rags, and pieces of frayed, blood-stained duct tape. Violence and trauma aside, the strong message of the protection and value of the family unit above all else is admirable. Sawyer does not hesitate from the very beginning to sacrifice himself for his family, and this show of fatherly strength is much needed in an age when the family unit faces so many cultural obstacles; it is nothing short of awe-inspiring to watch these people fight to ensure one another’s safety and the sustainability of their union.