Dwayne Johnson is at that point in his career were after going through all the great action movies he is left recycling the dumb ones. Rampage at least made up for its inane monster plot with the acknowledgment that it was based on a popular video game. Johnson’s latest, Skyscraper, does not even bother to hide that is a Die Hard ripoff.
Bruce Willis made us like all those Die Hards because he was a good actor. Johnson only proves that a Bruce with two legs is better than a Rock with one. The stand in leg (the original was lost battling a despondent father turned hostage taker turned suicide vest bomber) provides a third of the action chores– it being used as a weapon, wedge and for occasional bionic ambulation. The other two thirds comes from the wrestling ring school of drama: the arch eyebrow, the stare and half whispering everything in semi serious tones.
Willis and Johnson share the eternal Die Hard motivation: a wife and two kids in peril is enough cause to run into any burning building with terrorist in them. Skyscraper never tries to go beyond its inspiration, always happy to exist a few stories below it, with Johnson proving his manhood by constantly climbing the world’s tallest phallic symbol.
Skyscraper, set in Hong Kong, is always showing its divided loyalties with enough Chinese characters and dialogue to keep its number one moviegoing Asian audience believing that it might be an authentic Jackie Chan spoof and enough English and Hollywood action to keep the Americans from feeling duped.