Towering action for a big hero

Skyscraper, with Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Roland Moller, Chin Han. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber.

4/5

ANYTHING FOR HIS FAMILY: Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) making an impossible leap in Skyscraper, now showing at Rosehill Cinema

COMPARISONS to The Towering Inferno (1974) will come to mind while watching Skyscraper, for anyone who has seen the old classic disaster movie.

And as with any movie starring Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock), you can be certain there will be plenty of muscle-flexing action.

Johnson plays former FBI hostage rescue team leader and war veteran Will Sawyer, who is left disabled after a hostage rescue goes horribly wrong. Even as you watch the scene, you know this is somehow going to be re-enacted in Sawyer’s future.

Fast forward some years, Sawyer has moved into a new phase of his life as a security expert, assessing security for skyscrapers. An offer from an old colleague, Ben (Pablo Schreiber), lands him the opportunity to get a contract with Asian mogul Zhao Jong Li (Chin Han), who has built the tallest skyscraper in the world, named The Pearl.

At 1,100m tall, The Pearl is something out of fantasy, towering over every other skyscraper in Hong Kong, and includes its own park within the structure, complete with waterfall.

The residential portion of the building has not yet been opened, but Sawyer and his wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) and young son and daughter have been accommodated in an apartment there while he makes his professional assessment for Zhao.

Zhao is impressed and Sawyer gets the job and is taken on a special tour of The Pearl’s top level of high-tech wonders.

He is also given a tablet filled with information on the systems that will work only for him due to facial recognition software.

But we soon learn something is amiss when Ben gets a mysterious call urging him to make sure than Sawyer gets on the boat to the mainland to check to the offsite security centre. Once there, a thief steals Sawyer’s bag, supposedly containing the tablet.

However, he had placed it in his jacket pocket which compels Ben to show his hand and attack Sawyer directly. The action escalates from there as an entire gang arrives to get the tablet.

Meanwhile other gang members have broken into The Pearl and start a chemical fire on the 96th floor. Sawyer’s wife and children are still in the building and considered collateral damage.

Once the gang gets their hands on the tablet and control of the offsite security centre, the real fireworks start, as they control the fire systems for the entire building. They turn off the automatic fire suppressants for all the floors above 96, which also threatens Zhao in his penthouse.

Pursued by the Hong Kong police as a suspect, Sawyer has to run a gauntlet to try save his family from the inferno, while also facing down the thugs who control the building.

The arch-villain is revealed to be Kores Botha (Roland Moller), a Scandinavian terrorist with ties to major crime syndicates, and we learn his elaborate plan to set fire to The Pearl followed earlier extortion of Zhao, and some highly incriminating evidence the mogul has on him.

Viewers can be sure of a rollicking roller coaster of action, with Sawyer and his family facing grave danger while he performs Herculean feats to save them and dispense appropriate justice to his foes.

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