Johnson on fire—almost—in Skyscraper
Universal
By Stephanie Zacharek
July 12, 2018

Maybe it’s because Dwayne Johnson came up in the wrestling world–a theater of fake blood and simulated skull crushing–that we willingly believe he can do anything. Leap from a giant crane, a gazillion feet in the air, straight into the window of a skyscraper that’s on fire? No problem. With Johnson, there’s no pesky human doubt: if he thinks he can do it, he can. He’s a walking bathroom-mirror Post-it affirmation, with the kind of killer smile that 20 boxes of whitening strips won’t give you.

Of course, in real life, Johnson doesn’t really leap from cranes into burning buildings. But in the unapologetically absurd Skyscraper, boy, does he make you believe he could. Johnson plays Will Sawyer, a security contractor whose job is to oversee the safety of the world’s tallest skyscraper, a Hong Kong edifice that’s 3,500 ft. high, houses a king-size indoor park complete with a waterfall and boasts a hallucination-inducing hall of mirrors at its tippy-top. Will has moved his whole family–wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) and twins Georgia and Henry (McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell)–into this fancy joint. Then a bad guy (Roland Moller) sets their floor on fire–on purpose! You just don’t do that to Dwayne Johnson. Will rushes to save his family. Hence the leaping-from-the-crane thing.

Did I mention that Will is missing part of his left leg? And that at one point he clings to the side of this luxury rock pile with the help of duct tape? The wholesome selling point of Skyscraper is that it’s all about “saving the family,” but come on. We’re all just in it for the big flames and for watching Johnson–possibly the only guy in the movies that just about everyone likes, barring a few reprobates you wouldn’t want to know anyway–pull off the impossible. Director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence) wraps it all up in a tidy 100 minutes or so–there’s no boring coda showing the mayor of Hong Kong giving Will a medal, no “three months later” epilogue showing the family having a nice vacation on the beach, setting up the inevitable Skyscraper II. It’s all just Dwayne Johnson getting the job done. There ain’t no mountain, nor skyscraper, high enough for him.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

This appears in the July 23, 2018 issue of TIME.

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