DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Rawson Marshall Thurber
Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han
Writing Credits:
Rawson Marshall Thurber

A security expert must infiltrate a burning skyscraper, 225 stories above ground, when his family are trapped inside by criminals.

Box Office:
$125 million.
Opening Weekend
$24,905,015 on 3782 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby Atmos
Spanish Dolby 7.1
French Dolby 7.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 10/9/2018

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Rawson Marshall Thurber
• Deleted/Extended Scenes
• “Embodying a Hero” Featurette
• “Inspiration” Featurette
• “Opposing Forces” Featurette
• “Friends No More” Featurette
• “Kids In Action” Featurette
• “Pineapple Pitch” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Skyscraper [Blu-Ray] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 30, 2018)

For someone regarded as arguably the world’s biggest movie star, Dwayne Johnson’s films sure don’t seem to perform up to that level. 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle made mega-bucks, but Johnson acted as part of an ensemble there, just like with the super-successful Fast and the Furious franchise.

When forced to be the sole lead, Johnson sputters, as both of his 2018 films show. Rampage brought in a lackluster $99 million in the US, and Skyscraper fared even less well, with a subpar $67 million.

These films’ overseas grosses pushed them close to profitability, but it remains true that neither lived up to box office expectations. If we’re supposed to see Johnson as an “A”-list movie star, shouldn’t he make hits?

A mix of disaster flick and action film, Skyscraper introduces us to Will Sawyer (Johnson), a former FBI Hostage Team Leader who lost a leg during a mission gone bad. He now works as an expert in building security, and this job leads him to evaluate “The Pearl”, a new 225-story tower in Hong Kong.

As this process plays out, The Pearl catches fire, and nefarious parties frame Will for the blaze. With his wife Sarah (Neve Campbell), daughter Georgia (McKenna Roberts) and son Henry (Noah Cottrell) stuck inside the burning building, Will needs to save his family and clear his name.

Going into Skyscraper, I expected a movie that was roughly 70 percent Towering Inferno and 30 percent Die Hard. Trailers seemed to sell this as a disaster movie with action overtones, so it felt reasonable to anticipate that split.

Nope – I got my proportions way offbase. In actuality, Skyscraper exists mainly as a Die Hard-inspired action flick, with only maybe 10 percent along the Towering Inferno template.

And by “Die Hard-inspired”, I really mean “blatant Die Hard ripoff”. Skyscraper literally duplicates scenes out of the 1988 classic, so it barely pretends to go its own way.

Which I might not mind so much if Skyscraper delivered even a fraction of the excitement and charm of Die Hard. Instead, the film feels relentlessly generic and without many thrills on display.

As I’ve noted many times, I think Johnson has talent as an actor, but he seems to have regressed as the years have passed. When he was younger, Johnson took more chances, but now that he’s firmly established as a “brand”, he tends to play all his characters the same way.

That’s not necessarily a fatal flaw, as plenty of “one-note” actors had great careers. Heck, Cary Grant always played the “Cary Grant character”, but that never made him less effective or charming.

The problem stems from the fact that the “Dwayne Johnson character” seems so devoid of personality. One of Johnson’s great strengths comes from his natural charisma, but when he makes movies these days, he seems bound and determined to stamp out any life from his performances.

This leads to characters who feel generic and without much real personality, a factor that negatively impacts Johnson’s turn as Will. Our lead comes across as noble and likable but he makes no real impact on us, as he just feels like another one-dimensional cartoon without any distinguishing traits.

Not that Skyscraper allows Johnson much room to flex his acting muscles, as it leaves Will as a persistently flat role. He gets none of John McLain’s attitude or any other standout characteristics, so he comes across as a generic action hero and little more.

As noted, Skyscraper literally borrows entire scenes from Die Hard, and it never seems very interested in attempts to fashion its own cinematic entity. While I was wrong about the balance between its Die Hard and Towering Inferno elements, those two forces remain dominant and mean that Skyscraper becomes derivative and unoriginal.

Perhaps I wouldn’t mind that so much if writer/direct Rawson Marshall Thurber managed to have fun with the material, but instead, Skyscraper plays as stiff and unengaging. Scenes with potential thrills come across as so ludicrous that they fail to make an impact.

Dear God, does Thurber populate Skyscraper with idiotic moments! I can suspend disbelief with the best of them, but this film pursues such a relentless array of blatantly stupid scenes that it becomes impossible to enjoy much of the time.

Even with all these flaws, the basic conceit of Skyscraper manages to make it sporadically entertaining, but that’s about it. While more enjoyable than the largely boring Rampage, Skyscraper winds up as a missed opportunity to bring the disaster movie into the 21st century.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus B

Skyscraper appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a largely strong image.

While most of the movie presented nice clarity, some wider shots looked a bit tentative. Still, the majority of the flick appeared solid, and no signs of moiré effects or jaggies occurred. The movie also lacked edge haloes or print flaws.

In terms of palette, Skyscraper favored a combination of teal and orange. Those choices came as no surprise, and the Blu-ray reproduced them in a satisfactory manner.

Blacks showed strong depth, and shadows were good, with nice opacity and clarity. All of this was enough for a “B+” that lost points solely due to the occasional slightly soft shots.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos audio soared. With tons of destruction and mayhem on display, the soundscape offered frequent room for information to emanate from the various speakers.

The mix used those chances well. The soundtrack delivered wall-to-wall auditory material that spread out across the speakers in a satisfying manner and that blended together nicely.

This meant a tremendously active track in which the surrounds worked as nearly equal partners and kept the mix humming. Plenty of action/disaster moments made this a consistently impressive soundfield.

Audio quality also satisfied, as speech was natural and concise, while music sounded peppy and full. Effects turned into the primary factor, and those elements appeared accurate and vivid.

Bass response added real depth and rocked my subwoofer. If you own a fancy-pants home theater, you spent that money for soundtracks like this.

The disc comes with a mix of extras, and we open with an audio commentary from writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber. He presents a running, screen-specific look at the project’s origins and development, story/characters, influences and inspirations, cast and performances, sets and locations, various effects, stunts and action, editing, music and related domains.

My only complaint here comes from the occasional periods where Thurber goes MIA. However, those lapses don’t pop up often, and Thurber fills the track with a slew of good notes.

Thurber gladly acknowledges the movies that impacted Skyscraper, and he provides a lively, engaging look at his film. Thurber turns this into an informative, likable chat.

We find cut footage via five Deleted Scenes (12:07) and five Extended Scenes (10:17). The deleted shots tend toward unnecessary exposition, except the final one, which offers a joke related to the film’s heavy Die Hard influence.

As for the extended shots, more than 60 percent of the added material comes from the first piece, “Farm House Opening”. It offers a moderately different perspective but doesn’t differ a ton from the actual beginning of the film. The other scenes simply bring minor, forgettable extensions.

We can view the extended/deleted scenes with or without commentary from Thurber. He tells us background about the sequences as well as why he cut them. Thurber delivers a solid array of insights.

A slew of featurettes follow, and these open with Dwayne Johnson: Embodying a Hero. It goes for four minutes, four seconds and offers comments from Thurber, producer Hiram Garcia, and actors Dwayne Johnson, McKenna Roberts, Noah Cottrell and Neve Campbell.

As implied by the reel’s title, “Hero” looks at Johnson’s character and performance. It becomes largely fluffy and without much substance – other than the bizarre notion that the producers wanted Johnson to play a Harrison Ford-style “everyman”. If you want an “everyman” in 2018, you don’t hire someone with the muscle mass of Dwayne Johnson!

With Inspiration, we get a four-minute, 12-second reel with notes from Thurber, Johnson, Campbell, producer Beau Flynn, and motivational speaker Jeff Glasbrenner. “Inspiration” looks at the decision to make Johnson’s character an amputee and influences used in his performance. It largely feels self-congratulatory.

Next comes the two-minute, 35-second Opposing Forces. It includes remarks from Thurber, Johnson, Campbell, supervising stunt/fight coordinator Allan Poppleton and actor Hannah Quinlivan.

“Forces” discusses the female characters and their action scenes. Like its predecessors, “Forces” brings a few useful nuggets but much of it exists to praise the film and its participants.

Friends No More lasts three minutes, 21 seconds and offers material from Johnson, Thurber, Poppleton, Flynn, 2nd unit director JJ Perry, and actor Pablo Schreiber. It looks at one particular fight sequence and becomes another spotty show.

After this we locate Kids In Action, a two-minute, 40-second clip that features Johnson, Cottrell, Roberts, Garcia, Campbell, Thurber, Flynn and Poppleton. As expected, “Action” covers the movie’s young actors and their performances. Once again, we get a mediocre, puffy piece.

Finally, Pineapple Pitch goes for one minute, 38 seconds and provides statements from Johnson and Thurber. We get a quick chat about how Thurber convinced Johnson to appear in the movie. It’s insubstantial but fairly funny.

The disc opens with ads for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Mile 22. No trailer for Skyscraper appears here.

With its mash-up of Die Hard and The Towering Inferno, Skyscraper seems ripe to offer high-flying disaster-oriented thrills. Every once in a while, the movie entertains despite itself, but so much of the film comes across as idiotic and absurd that it only occasionally manages excitement. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio along with supplements highlighted by an excellent commentary. Skyscraper offers a mediocre action film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.1428 Stars Number of Votes: 7
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main