Welcome back to another edition of the YOMYOMF Blockbuster Showdown, where a group of Offenders watch this season’s biggest Hollywood releases and see how they hold up. Here, we express our VERY SPOILERY OPINIONS on all the big Hollywood tentpoles. For this edition, we review the Rock’s latest action pic, SKYSCRAPER, where he kicks ass in the world’s tallest free-standing building. How does it compare to his other films where he kicks ass in places that aren’t the world’s tallest free-standing building? Read below and find out!
1. SKYSCRAPER is being heralded as DIE HARD ON A SKYSCRAPER… Wait-a-sec, Didn’t DIE HARD take place in a skyscraper? Alright, is this breaking the DIE HARD mold into the upper echelons of action movie brilliance?
ANDERSON: Um, definitely not. It was bombastic but not in a good way. A smart building with future tech is cool and all, and it definitely is inspired by DIE HARD and THE TOWERING INFERNO, but this film is like a 4th generation VHS copy. The story gets less clear, the visual noise makes it less coherent and it’s just a watered down version of what made those films great. The only saving grace is Dwayne Johnson, and oh, Neve Campbell! Why isn’t she doing more stuff?
LIZ: Oh, god bless whoever thought it was DIE HARD on a skyscraper. Nowhere near as charming as DIE HARD but still a fun ride. I love these types of disaster/shit blowing up blockbusters. And Anderson, I have to disagree, this movie was very clear. Bad guy takes over building where Hero’s family happens to be in: CUE DESTRUCTION OF SHIT. I also liked that Dwayne Johnson’s character, Will Sawyer, was a vet amputee who kicked-ass and took names with a prosthesis. Neve Cambell was great and the kids weren’t annoying AF which was a bonus. Yeay for likeable characters!
ANDERSON: Perhaps my analogy wasn’t clear (just like 4th generation VHS copies). It’s just watered down is what I’m trying to say. I kind of equate it like SAN ANDREAS. It’s fine but they’re of the same ilk as say GEOSTORM. These films are made for the international market and just feel watered down. But instead of Gerard Butler, we have the Rock, who is better than this.
2. There are some pretty death defying feats that Dwayne Johnson does, and his character only has one leg! How are the actions and stunts, at least?
ANDERSON: Pretty ridiculous but the Rock sells them to a certain point. It’s like he looks so indestructible already that the filmmakers decided, “hey, let’s give him only one leg”, to make it more believable. But, when you have our hero scale the building for a good portion of the movie, it makes it pretty silly. With Tom Cruise in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE GHOST PROTOCOL, he essentially did the same but it wasn’t 25% of the movie’s running time!
LIZ: UH-FUCKING-MAZING. I would love to have been in the room when they were trying to top each other with stunts. Jump from a crane? Ok, that’s good, but what if he had to jump through a spinning vitamix blade? One fire? Fuck that! Let’s have a whole FOREST FIRE! Johnson hold a plank to be a bridge? NOPE. LET’S MAKE HIM HOLD A WHOLE BRIDGE WITH HIS UPPER BODY!! The Rock sold all the stunts and was super likable while doing it.
And that’s crazy you bring up Tom Cruise! I was telling my husband that Dwayne Johnson is giving Tommy a run for his stunt money. Plus, I love that Dwayne is a family man. Tom Cruise seems to be all about The Cruise in all of his movies while Dwayne is a blue collar family man.
3. Dwayne Johnson is back with his second movie of the year (three if you count JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, which came out at the end of December). Are we experiencing the Rock fatigue?
ANDERSON: I love the Rock. There’s a reason why he is the biggest star on the planet. The man’s a behemoth and he’s super charismatic. But yeah, with RAMPAGE and now this, I think he needs to be more picky about the films he chooses. I get that these are designed for the international market, but I miss the Rock who was doing interesting roles in SOUTHLAND TALES or BE COOL.
He is just in total beast mode, making 3 to 4 films a year at the point. Slow down, dude, and don’t water down your brand! We love you enough already!
LIZ: I have no Rock fatigue. I am THIRSTY for more Johnson! Ok. That came out weird. NOT GONNA DELETE IT BC THAT’S HOW I FUCKING ROLL: LIKE DWAYNE ROLLING OUT DOWN THE SIDE OF A BUILDING AND BEING CAUGHT BY A ROPE ON HIS PROSTHESIS.
I think Dwayne Johnson is smart. He knows that he can only do this type of action movie for so long. He’s banking on making these films and becoming more and more powerful behind the scenes with producer credits. You gotta strike while you’re hot and I think the Rock is taking full advantage of his hawtness.
4. The film takes place in Hong Kong. Was SKYSCRAPER basically a film designed for the Chinese market?
ANDERSON: Um, yes totally. I think it caters too much. I am all for it, but don’t have Asian actors as window dressing.
LIZ: I liked that it took place in Hong Kong. I was fine with it catering it to the Chinese market. What I had a problem was when we needed Neve and Dwayne aka Americans to come in and save everyone. Those Chinese cops seemed super capable. We didn’t need to have Neve having a save the day moment. She had that with the Rock. Let’s show that Chinese people in films can be more than just inept good/bad guys.
5. Any Asians in the film?
ANDERSON: Yes, lots. But they’re window dressing. Chin Han is fine as the brains behind the building. I mean, the Rock is amazing because he’s also a PoC but would be great to get more supporting characters that are also charismatic or leave more indelible impressions in the film.
LIZ: Yes. Chin Han is great as the Elon Musk of buildings, Zhao Long Ji. But his plan to blackmail the syndicates was stupid. Ever heard of the cloud dude? That’s a writers problem. I also enjoyed Byron Mann as Inspector Wu and Hannah Quinlivan as Xia. But I agree with Anderson, they all came secondary. Come on Hollywood. WE CAN DO BETTER. Representation Matters!!
ANDERSON: I am glad to see Byron Mann getting more prominent work. I personally can’t wait to see his new Netflix series with THE RAID’s Iko Uwais!
Coming back to my home town of Hong Kong for @skyscrapermovie premiere was amazing. Thousands of fans was overwhelming. Their fantastic response to the movie was even better. The film comes out July 13th, next Friday. Don’t miss it. @UniversalPics @TheRock @RawsonThurber pic.twitter.com/VywB0HIv1P
— Byron Mann (@Byron_Mann) July 8, 2018
6. Any final thoughts?
ANDERSON: In the end, it’s a fine B-movie. It’s in that RAMPAGE, SAN ANDREAS mode. But it would be cool to have the Rock do smaller, grittier films. If it’s set in Hong Kong, why not make it something like BLOODSPORT or THE KILLER? “Spectacle” and lots of CGI doesn’t make a film good.
LIZ: If you like seeing shit get destroyed and then Dwayne Johnson using duct tape a lot in crazy stunts then this movie is perfect for you. I enjoyed myself thoroughly even though this was a PG-13 film. I, unlike Anderson, love lots of spectacle and CGI in these types of films. Just load it on up. The more crazy, the better.
7. Rate It! 1 Banana (Bad) 4 Bananas (Great)
ANDERSON: 2.25 Bananas. It was a nice distraction but definitely a TBS or TNT movie. The Rock can do better!
LIZ: 3 Bananas. Solid summer action blockbuster film. The Rock is insanely charming and there are some really fun escapes. If you like preposterous stunts (like I do) and want to see shit blow up then you better head on over to the movie theater pronto because SKYSCRAPER is made for you.
Liz Ho (@TheLizHoShow): Is a fortune cookie: a crispy-Asian-American-treat that will give you useless advice & lotto numbers. She loves STAR TREK, al pacasso, STAR WARS (IV-VI), working on her YouTube Channel, reading, and taking daily pictures of my rescued ewok dogs, Cooper and Coco. She is also an actor.