Skyscraper and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber
I for one will NEVER turn down a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson flick even if it looks as freaking ridiculous as this Die Hard knockoff looks to be! The guy is an unstoppable force in Hollywood and the fact that almost all of his movies are least SOMEWHAT enjoyable is a good indication of why that’s the case. This one looks to be no different in any significant way, but hey! More of what we love from the guy can’t possibly be a bad thing… right? Does this manage to be fun despite its silly premise and unbelievable set pieces, or is there a limit to what even THE ROCK is capable of carrying? Let’s find out!!
Our hero is Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) who’s a former FBI… SWAT… Solider… something, who’s spent the last ten years working as a private security consultant. See, he had to retire after… the incident, which may have taken one of his legs also led to him meeting his wife (Neve Campbell) who he then married and had two kids with (McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell) so six of one half a dozen of the other! Anyway, he’s landed his biggest job yet as a third party verifier of the security and safety systems that are put in place at THE PEARL. What is THE PEARL you may ask? Well it’s the largest skyscraper IN THE WORLD (it sure would suck if someone had to climb it later in the movie) that was built by Chinese billionaire Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han) and is about to open its upper floors to renters; provided of course they pass Will’s safety check which will secure them a reasonable insurance policy! Well as exciting as all that sounds, things start to go south as a crew of well-trained criminals (led by Roland Møller) not only infiltrate THE PEARL but also get total control of their security system, and they set fire to the upper floors in an attempt to smoke Zhao out of his penthouse and get whatever it is he’s hiding up there. There’s just one problem! Okay, actually two problems. Will’s family was STAYING on one of those floors they just so happened to set on fire, and Will himself was outside THE PEARL as part of his security check and now needs to find a way inside. So not only did you piss him off by putting his family in danger, you’re gonna force him to face heights, smoke, and absurdly high temperatures as well which is just gonna get him THAT much more angry at you! Can Will somehow infilitrate the burning building and save his family before it’s too late? What exactly is Zhao hiding, and is worth all the destruction these bad guys are causing? Wait, is he SERIOUSLY gonna try to jump that!?
Free Fire and all the images you see in this review are owned by StudioCanal UK
Directed by Ben Wheatley
I honestly don’t get excited to see movies all that often. For one, I’m gonna see the damn movies whether or not they’re any good, and on top of that the only movies that seem to get a big marketing push nowadays are big franchise pictures like the MCU, the DCCU, and even The Fast and the Furious. This movie however was the exception to that rule as I caught the trailer a few times and fell in love with the concept right away. A real time gun fight set in the seventies with Sharlto Freaking Copley in it!? Damn! That’s almost too good to even show up in my local theater, which… spoiler alert: it didn’t and I had to drive to the one forty minutes away. See, while everyone was gushing over The Nice Guys last year, it just didn’t quite do it for me as much as it did for everyone else, and this seems like the kind of thing that was not only going for that kind of look and feel but was much more in my wheelhouse as far as the overall tone and the central conceit. Needless to say that this has been a long day coming and I’m hoping for the best while bracing myself for… well not the WORST as the trailers showed way too much promise for THAT to be the case, but at the very least I hope it’s better than mediocre. Does this manage to live up to my rarely lifted expectations, or am I doomed to be disappointed by a film that showed a whole lot of promise? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with essentially two groups of colorful people in the gaudiest seventies fashion meeting in a warehouse to broker a gun deal. One side is led by Chris (Cillian Murphy) and a few Irish gangsters (Michael Smiley, Sam Riley, and Enzo Cilenti) while the other side is led by Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and his associates (Babou Ceesay, Jack Reynor, and Noah Taylor). In the middle are Justine and Ord (Brie Larson and Armie Hammer) who seem to have brokered the deal between the two sides and therefore probably have the most investment in everything going smoothly. Of course, we wouldn’t have a movie if everything was hunky dory, and eventually bullets start flying after a few altercations and outburst from some of the less professional individuals on each side. That’s it. The rest of the movie is watching to see who gets killed next as they trade bullets and yell insults at each other for the next eighty minutes, and it’s pretty damn awesome! Does anyone manage to make it out of this factory alive? Was there a more sinister plot in play than anyone on either side realized before they started shooting at each other? Can we please get Sharlto Copley a Marvel movie or something!? He’s like the new Nicolas Cage and I want to see him in everything!!
“If you see some motherfucking producer carrying a script around for another Wicker Man remake, you blow his bloody head up!”