Skyscraper, a tower of… confusion

I really did want to like Skyscraper. The Towering Inferno and Die Hard were classics from their day and the prospect of them getting together and having a baby was exciting. Moreover, I like the Rock, he’s personable, has good comic timing and is damn believable as an action hero. All the pieces were there for a fun blockbuster romp so the fact that I walked out of that experience distracted with trivialities and not basking in the glow of what the Rock is cooking was very disappointing.

This movie was rife with logical leaps, time skews, unbelievable physics, and illogical plot holes that left me confused and discombobulated. Now I love action movies and am very willing to forgive the leaps, skews and holes when they are in service of showing how much of a bad-ass the good/bad guy is. For example, the following didn’t bother me in the least:

  • Early on, the Rock had his arm sliced badly enough to require stitches which never came, but this didn’t seem to affect his ability to perform countless acts of dare devilry
  • Why was he limping at some times but perfectly able to leap tall building in a single bound at others?
  • Or even this wonderful Twitter meme (picked to pieces as only the Internet can – my personal faves are here and here):
    • Now if my questions stopped there, I would be ecstatic. However, it didn’t… the problem with this movie was that I kept on asking myself questions which constantly broke the suspension of disbelief because it didn’t make sense.

      The Rock jumping from a crane to a building doesn’t make sense because, you know, physics, but is well within the realm of the suspension of disbelief and doesn’t take me out of the moment (“yeah, he’s just that awesome, go!”). The fact that the Rock climbed a crane to get to the 96th floor in about 5 minutes took me out of the moment and was the type of thing that was constantly making me think that I had missed something (“wait, did he jump in an elevator when we weren’t looking”) or there was something that I didn’t understand (“but if he can climb that fast, then surely the later jump through the giant fan should have been child’s play”).

      Following is a (likely incomplete) list of questions which took me out of the moment which decreased my enjoyment of the movie:

      • This whole movie starts with a bizarre bomb blast that blew up in the Rock’s face yet only his leg faced any lasting damage
      • Why did Ben choose the Rock as his patsy? All he needed was someone who he could steal the tablet from. It seems that this task is made easier if you went with Homer Simpson as your safety inspector instead of your friend, the ex-military/FBI bad-ass
      • At the start of the movie, how did he get to the building so quickly after the fight with Ben? Considering how far the tower looked, it seemed he covered a mile of gridlocked traffic on a motorcycle and then on foot in about 30 seconds
      • How did the crowds on the ground get such a great camera views of him at all times? (Was there a helicopter up there? If so, why did he wait until the absolute last scene to help the Rock instead of the 40 times in between when he could have used an assist?
      • Are Army surgeons generally trained in weapons and hand to hand combat?
      • In act 1, the bad guys seemed genuinely concerned that the Rock’s family came home early and was now in harm’s way but then reverted to “regular” bad guys in the end who had no issues throwing children off of buildings
      • Midway through the movie, I didn’t understand how the bad guys thought the best way to get into the door to the sphere was to beat the shit out of the hero, leave him in a collapsed bloody mess then just leave
      • If the fire in this movie was “space-fire” or “alien-fire” it would have allowed a much greater suspension of disbelief. However it wasn’t, it was regular fire. As such the following drove me crazy:

        • How can over 100 floors of skyscraper be on fire and the building not collapse? The lessons of 9/11 tell us otherwise.
        • The fire suppression system was on and didn’t do a damn thing when the 96th floor was burning for about 15 minutes but after Neve Campbell reboots the system and re-enables the fire suppression system, the fire on 100 floors are put out almost immediately
        • Moreover, how can 100 floors be burning for hours and yet the fire suppression system remain totally functional? Power too for that matter, the weird virtual reality “hall of mirrors” on the top floor clearly didn’t have any issues getting power even though the 100 floors below it were on fire
        • Who the hell puts a “disable” ability on the fire control systems anyways?
        • It takes an iPhone at least a minute and a half to reboot, but this whole building’s OS rebooted in 5 seconds?
        • One thing which does need to be given, is props for the duct tape jokes. That stuff is magical and doesn’t get its due.

          The Towering Inferno is a bit of a distant memory but they were also showing Die Hard on the plane so I was able to confirm what I recollected… Skyscraper is no Die Hard.

          I really didn’t care about any of the characters… 5 minutes into Die Hard you have met most of the major characters and you either love or loathe them almost immediately. Also, there is too much exposition – Skyscraper starts off with some backstory which doesn’t really affect the plot or development of the characters, then goes into a documentary talking about a building then goes into an exciting sub-plot about building insurance all before the story really even starts. The bad guys were the worst too, they were generic, uninteresting and had no personality. Their motivation was vague and not even explained until midway through the movie (and that ended up not mattering, because their motivation was dumb).

          Nakatomi Plaza may have been only 40 stories tall, but it towered over this Skyscraper.

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