Skyscraper Parent Guide
Up in smoke.
Parent Movie Review
Even though producer Beau Flynn is quoted as saying he wanted to “try to create something different”, Skyscraper works on an all too familiar formula: A disaster is about to take place and the hero’s wife and kids are stuck in the middle of it.
In this case, that hero is the very box office bankable Dwayne Johnson, who plays a former FBI operative named Will Sawyer. An explosive opening scene depicts the agent during a hostage takedown that leaves him badly hurt and missing a leg. Skipping ahead ten years, we pick up with Will who is still nursing his wounded confidence while working as a safety inspector and security expert.
After landing a contract where he will be the responsible party for ensuring the world’s tallest skyscraper is both fireproof and worthy of the world’s most expensive insurance policy, Will heads to Hong Kong. In tow are his wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) and cute twins Georgia and Henry (McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell). Once there, he meets with Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han), the building’s designer and owner. As soon as Will, the independent expert, provides his approval, Long Ji will be able to open the top 100 residential floors to eager tenants.
Yet, there’s an impending sense The Pearl (so named due to a mysterious sphere at the pinnacle of the structure) exists only to support Long Ji’s elaborate penthouse fortress and the remarkable item he has stashed behind the 10 inch thick, titanium doors leading into his suite. That also means there will be a bad guy seeking the hidden treasure. Danish actor Roland Møller fills the bill admirably with a stereotypical Eastern European accent that oozes nasty. This is especially true when he unwittingly meets up with Will’s wife and kids who are staying in what he thought was an unoccupied portion of the tower.
Mixing action and disaster movie genres together, Skyscraper gets burning about a half-hour after lengthy reassurances this building can never combust. Yet, unlike the 1970s classic Towering Inferno, this flame thrower is more about man versus man than man versus steel and concrete. Kids being taunted by villains increase the heat of the action and will likely be more disturbing to young audiences than the fire itself. Likewise, the violence sometimes crosses the line between action and gratuitous during the countless confrontations (involving fists, weapons and explosions) that are often accompanied with blood effects.
One of the very few films releasing during the summer of 2018 that is not part of a franchise (hence Flynn’s insistence of his film’s uniqueness), Skyscraper continues to prove Dwayne Johnson can turn a hamburger script into at least top sirloin while being surrounded by performances that are mostly chopped liver. Part of the plot’s problems comes from its engineering to please a variety of contingents. Chinese actors, speaking Mandarin with English subtitles, are undoubtedly included to secure a release in what will soon be the world’s biggest movie market. And Neve Campbell, who plays a former military medic, is intended to appeal to female viewers as her capable character shows women can fight too.
Stilted writing and acting aside, Skyscraper does deliver some nail-biting (albeit ridiculous) moments. As well, there’s no doubt Sawyer loves his family—so much so, he’s willing to crawl across plate glass windows, 200 stories above the ground, using duct tape to keep him from falling. Now that’s what I call a sticky situation!Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Pablo Schreiber. Running time: 103 minutes. Theatrical release July 13, 2018. Updated October 9, 2018
Rating & Content Info
Why is Skyscraper rated PG-13? Skyscraper is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of gun violence and action, and for brief strong language.
Violence: Characters (men, women and children), are in constant peril from disaster and evil intentions. Portrayals of violent confrontations are pervasive, and include hitting, punching, chokeholds, kicking, guns, knives and other weapons. These depictions are sometimes detailed and accompanied by blood effects. Background characters are shot and killed frequently, often cold bloodedly. Corpses are shown. Women and children are taken hostage and used as pawns. Characters use blackmail and death threats to get their way. Fire, falling objects and explosions threaten and injure people. Characters are at risk of falling from heights, and some do. Characters betray one another, others risk their life for another. An amputee is seen attaching a prosthetic limb to the stump of his leg. Another character has scaring from a burn. Property damage occurs.
Sexual Content: Children act disgusted when they see their parents kiss. Married couples and their children embrace and kiss.
Profanity: A strong sexual expletive is used once in a non-sexual context. Mild profanity, scatological slang and terms of deity are heard.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Prescription medications are used. A character uses alcohol to clean a wound, and then drinks some.
Page last updated October 9, 2018
Skyscraper Parents' Guide
Will Sawyer is willing to face a fiery inferno in order to save his wife and kids. What things do you value enough to risk your life for? If these things (or people) were threatened, what would you do to protect them?
Several of the characters in this movie feel they are being forced into situations where they must do illegal things or commit murder. What do the 'bad guys" use to get the "good guys" to do deplorable things? How would you react if someone tried to blackmail you?
Dwayne Johnson's character uses duct tape for many purposes, including repairing wounds and crawling on the outside of a building high above the ground. Canadian comedian Steve Smith's character Red Green used duct tape in imaginative ways on his long running show. He even tours through 3M's duct tape manufacturing plant.