Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Skyscraper’ Performance Praised by Critics as Support for ‘Silly’ Movie

Reviews aren’t fond of the action film’s script, but Johnson is hailed for taking on his most “human” role

In a July filled with sequels, “Skyscraper” is the only blockbuster coming out this month that isn’t part of a franchise. While critics weren’t impressed by the script by director Rawson Marshall Thurber, Dwayne Johnson earned praise for his performance as Will Sawyer, an amputee forced to save his family from terrorists on a prosthetic leg.

The film opens showing the hostage situation that cost Sawyer his leg while working as an FBI agent. Ten years later, he has married Sarah (Neve Campbell), the medic who treated him and has taken a job in Hong Kong as head of security at the tallest building in the world. But when the building is attacked and Will is framed for it, he must save his family before it’s too late. Reviews for the film have been mixed, with Rotten Tomatoes setting the score at 58 percent.

“‘Skyscraper’ doesn’t change the action-movie game the way ‘Die Hard’ did,” wrote TheWrap‘s Alonso Duralde, “but it’s a solidly entertaining summer diversion best enjoyed on the biggest theater — or even better, drive-in — screen you can find. And if you’re afraid of heights, make sure there’s an armrest — or even better, an arm — that you can grab.”

Check out some of the praise and pans critics have given The Rock’s latest film below:

Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

“While it’s a completely disposable story, ‘Skyscraper’ is fascinating simply for Thurber’s fascination with evolving Johnson’s star persona. […] In so many of his films, Johnson is like some kind of comic book superhero: cartoonishly strong, his biceps bulging to an unimaginable size…But in ‘Skyscraper,’ Thurber seeks to diminish that strength. The camera looks down on him rather than up, and he’s outfitted in rumpled business casual rather than tactical spandex. It makes Johnson more human before we then watch him perform feats of strength and derring-do using simple machines, like Buster Keaton on human-growth hormone.”

Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“If all this digital artifice accomplishes anything, it effectively heightens the irreducible flesh-and-blood realism of the movie’s star. Thurber previously directed Johnson in the equally (if more intentionally) silly “Central Intelligence,” and he brought out a strain of playfulness and vulnerability in this fast, furious, rampaging actor that few other movies manage…He’s a human wrecking ball, a human bridge and a human teddy bear rolled into one.”

John Lui, Straits Times

“There is little to laugh at here – and that is the problem. This is a loud, silly film that takes itself seriously. It pretends to have real stakes, when it is apparent from the start that Sawyer and his picture-perfect family will emerge unscathed, even if the entirety of Hong Kong were to be engulfed in flames.”

Mara Reinstein, Us Weekly

“How are we supposed to be genuinely delighted or thrilled or care about the plight of the Sawyer family when it’s obvious that this Hong Kong tower and its internal guts were digitally inserted in a Hollywood editing room? The reliance on the green screen zaps all the tension. A man carrying vital information bleeds out from a single bullet in an air-conditioned room; Campbell and her son hurdle down 100 floors in an elevator engulfed in flames, no problem.”

Wenlei Ma, News.com.au

“‘Skyscraper’ is pretty well edited with its unbelievable (the truest sense of the word in that it is not to be believed) and kinetic action sequences ratcheting up the tension if not the stakes (it’s not the kind of movie where actual bad things will happen to the good guys).

Not for nothing, you will not be bored as you try to game what outrageous thing our hero is going to try next. If you can suspend your disbelief — a requirement — and not get hung up on its cheesy dialogue or the fact that there is less real science here than an old episode of ‘MacGyver,’ the ludicrous ‘Skyscraper’ can offer you quite a movie-going experience.”