Skyscraper: Die Hard Without Christmas (2018) *PLUS RANT ON OBNOXIOUS MOVIEGOERS*

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Before we aim high and go into my “Skyscraper” review, let me just say that this film revolves around a family. This family’s relationship seems to play out in a significant amount of runtime for this film. Speaking of family, a new family is bound to form in California. A couple by the name of Paul and Genevieve at one point thought they’d never see the day the dream of starting a family would ever come true. Not because they didn’t try starting a family due to a lack of motivation or something, but because they endlessly tried and had no success. This is all explained… in “What the IVF?!”

“What the IVF” is a YouTube series starring the recently mentioned couple. These two explain their journey to conception. Every Monday, a new story is told, and usually the story that’s told is never one that’s all that happy. When it comes to the story of the couple’s journey to conception, many unfortunate realities occur throughout. Experience the ride alongside Paul and Genevieve as they face the misfortunes of math, exams, anger, sex, crying, pain, needles, and pain from needles! You can find the latest episodes of “WTIVF?” on the show’s personally dedicated YouTube channel, but if you want to watch one right now, check out the latest episode that goes over the past events of the couple’s IVF journey. I’ve watched it, and trust me guys, it’s a good one, check it out. Speaking of checking things out, be sure to take a gander at the “What the IVF?” YouTube channel, subscribe, ring the bell, click whatever button will make Paul and Genevieve happy! Aside from YouTube, you can also find stuff related to the series on other forms of media, be sure to check all of that out and follow those pages. Also don’t forget to check out the website to “WTIVF?” which is included in the links below. And be sure to tell them that Jack Drees sent ya over!

WTIVF? WEBSITE: http://www.whattheivf.com/

WTIVF? YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCILXSidkzWgwrQ5Oa1py78w/featured?disable_polymer=1

WTIVF? TWITTER: https://twitter.com/WTivF

WTIVF? INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/wtivf/

WTIVF? FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/What-The-IVF-288868031634125/

“Skyscraper” is directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence, Easy A) and stars Dwayne Johnson (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Fast Five), Neve Campbell (House of Cards, Scream), Chin Han (Ghost in the Shell, The Dark Knight), Roland Møller (The Commuter, Atomic Blonde), Noah Taylor (Vanilla Sky, Shine), Byron Han (Altered Carbon, The Big Short), Pablo Schreiber (13 Hours, American Gods), and Hannah Quinlavin (Moon River, The Shanghai Job). This film mostly takes place in or around what this movie’s universe considers the tallest building in the world. Unfortunately, this building eventually gets to a point where it’s on fire, and now it is up to a man by the name of Will Sawyer, a caring father, who also used to be a US military member and FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader, to save his own family, and survive against certain individuals, not to mention, time.

My first exposure to something related to “Skyscraper” came around the time of the Super Bowl. To be more specific, I read a tweet from The Rock calling the film original. Just from that alone, I was intrigued. We’re getting as many sequels, adaptations, and reboots as we are getting news reports of someone we know or happen to like being called out for something terrible. Once I heard about this film’s “originality,” I was intrigued. But then the advertising started, and everybody started comparing it to “Die Hard.”

F*CK.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen “Die Hard” and I enjoyed it. It’s been forever since my experience watching it, but I found pleasure in what was on screen nevertheless.  However, if you’re advertising yourself as an original film, although in this case, an actor from the film is doing the advertising, and a good number of people see this as a “Die Hard” wannabe, that’s not good.

And you know what? One of my biggest problems with the film that doesn’t necessarily have to do with whatever is in the final product is the marketing. Now that people are calling “Skyscraper” 2018’s “Die Hard,” apparently there was a poster inspired by “Die Hard” made for it! Not only that, but there was also a “Towering Inferno” inspired poster. What does this movie want to be? And you know what? This might be an even more important statement: What does The Rock want this movie to be? Months ago, he was saying that this is an original production, and now he’s talking about other films that were basically inspirations for “Skyscraper,” which kind of therefore makes “Skyscraper” feel less original than maybe it once was. I will say though when it comes to tone, as I watched the movie, the tone was rather clear, it was trying to be an edge of your seat popcorn action thriller. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. And in some ways, “Skyscraper” succeeded at doing such a thing, but I wouldn’t say it was enough. Sure, it’s summertime, so big, explosive, expensive movies are to be expected, but overall the story at times is somewhat cliche and the script is predictable. There are some moments I didn’t expect, but if you don’t dive into specific detail, you might as well say the script is predictable.

In fact, some of you might be asking how predictable the script to “Skycraper” actually was. It was SO predictable, that a few audience members had a number of moments where they would say something out loud, and in a split second, that thing would happen. First off, if you’re going to the movies, PLEASE DON’T TALK! IT’S RUDE! I PAID GOOD MONEY FOR THIS! Seriously, these audience members to my left, they just couldn’t stop making noise! Granted, I talk during the movies, but only on occasion, and when I do it, I whisper. These hooligans showed up about thirty to forty minutes after the scheduled showtime, which in terms of seeing the movie, is about fifteen or so minutes through the runtime. I knew something was going to happen when I heard loud laughing from the back of the theater. Then they came into my row, and all of them were sitting to my left. DID “A QUIET PLACE” TEACH ANYTHING TO PEOPLE?! DON’T! TALK! DURING THE MOVIE! Gosh, I hate my life.

In all seriousness, the characters in “Skyscraper” weren’t really all that interesting. Sure, there’s The Rock’s character, but then again, he’s The Rock, everybody likes The Rock. I bought into his relationship with his wife, not to mention his kids. I also bought into him as a guy with a prosthetic leg. Although at the same time, I feel like a lot of people, regardless of whether or not they actually have a prosthetic leg can play this character. Maybe they can’t do it as well as The Rock, but there are times that I can probably imagine another actor in The Rock’s shoes. If you ask me, I still think The Rock is actually a fine choice for this character, but my thought still stands.

I recently mentioned that the script is a bit lackluster for this film, and when it comes to specification on that sort of thing, some of it has to do with poor characterization. If you ask me, I think when it comes to the protagonists, I don’t have too many complaints, especially when you compare that to the antagonistic side. The script spent a lot of time focusing on the main family and treating the tall building as if it was its own character. Seriously! It’s possible that the skyscraper in “Skyscraper” has more character development than the Transformers in the “Transformers” movies! As I watched this film and noticed the antagonistic side of things, I thought I was watching a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because of how cliche or underwhelming or underdeveloped their villains happen to be. I wouldn’t say I thought the main villain was bad at what he was trying to do, but I just probably won’t remember him.

You know how I mentioned the mixed messages I got from the film’s marketing? This film at times did feel like “Die Hard” to me. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve never seen “The Towering Inferno” so I can’t say much about it. But there is another film I saw that I didn’t even realize would click into my mind at a certain point. Specifically, “Enter the Dragon.” If you’ve seen “Enter the Dragon,” chances are you’d know that there’s this climactic fight that takes place in this hall of mirrors. There’s a fight in “Skyscraper” that doesn’t seem to be exactly like that, but it’s very similar to it. Much like “Enter the Dragon,” this scene is competently shot and edited. There’s not a moment where I look in a mirror and notice a camera or a cameraman, then again most of this movie is on a green screen so I doubt they had actual mirrors on set. I’ve seen a number of reviews for this movie, and one comment that stuck out to me is that this movie borrows something particular from a lot of other titles, and usually that other title would do that particular thing better than “Skyscraper.” When it comes to this mirror scene, I can’t agree more. Not only was this sort of thing done better in “Enter the Dragon,” I’d say it was done better in “John Wick: Chapter 2!”

I also feel like a big problem in this movie may be because of the guy helming it. “Skyscraper” is written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, and most of his work is in the comedy genre. Granted, there is comedy in “Skyscraper.” There wasn’t much, and not all of it landed for me, but it was there. This is not his first action film however, it’s not even his first film with The Rock either. One of the better movies I’ve watched during 2016 happened to be “Central Intelligence,” an action-comedy starring Kevin Hart and The Rock. I haven’t watched it since seeing it in the theater, but I had a really fun time with it and I certainly wouldn’t mind watching it again. This movie however, not so much. I wouldn’t say “Skyscraper” needed more comedy, if anything that would have killed the movie unless they were going for an R rating. It just needed a different director and better writing.

Another problem I had with “Skyscraper” is that while it was technically written and directed by the same person without cooperation from others, it almost feels like a film that a bunch of stereotypical cigar-smoking studio executives would come up with. I was exposed to a podcast recently where two guys were talking about this movie, and I actually know of these guys from YouTube too, shoutout to Chris Stuckmann and John Flickinger! They thought of “Skyscraper” as a pitch movie. It’s almost like the pitcher gave a list of movies that this can be compared to, and all of those elements can be easily implemented into the final product. And when some people think of The Rock, the phrase “big money” might possibly pop in their heads. After all, he’s a big name in current Hollywood based on the number of projects he takes on, including “Fast & Furious.” I don’t know, this just feels more like a corporate product than a movie. I saw that coming upon seeing more and more advertising, but I just can’t help but point that sort of thing out.

In the end, I wouldn’t say “Skyscraper” stands tall. Sure, the movie may be doing well overseas, but that doesn’t mean I’m seeing something of quality here. The Rock is very charming, I bought into the chemistry between him and his family members, and I do think the building had an interesting design to it. Although when it comes to overall positivity I can give, there’s very little I can give towards this sometimes badly paced, cliche, and predictable thing that some may call a film. But one thing’s for sure, this is not gonna spark any “Christmas movie or not a Christmas movie” debates. I’m going to give “Skyscraper” a 4/10. Thanks for reading this review! Be sure to stay tuned for upcoming content, including my “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” review, and I do have some other films in mind when it comes to future reviews. These films include “Eighth Grade,” “Sorry to Bother You,” or if I have an excuse to do an older film review series like I did with “Mission: Impossible,” I’ll be sure to get that going sometime as well. Stay tuned for more reviews and other great content! I want to know, did you see “Skyscraper?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite movie starring The Rock? Mine is “Fast Five,” let me know yours down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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