It might be that my brain is dying, but I actually enjoyed most of “Skyscraper,” the new movie in which Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson runs around a tall building that’s on fire.
Maybe it’s just franchise fatigue — all those Avengers and Deadpools and Star Warses making my mind deteriorate. Maybe it’s just refreshing to see a movie that’s not a sequel, even if that movie is really just a basic retread of countless trapped-in-a-tall-building movies.
“Skyscraper” might be extremely square. It might have some really bad dialogue. It might feature characters who talk to themselves for no reason other than to dump exposition, and it might feature a few special effects that look about as real as the cutscenes of a Sony PlayStation game — to be clear, the first PlayStation.
It might not be a great movie, but this dumb, dopey thing moves. It moves up and it moves down and it moves forward, and at fairly brisk pace.
And my brain might be dying, but I liked it.
Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (director of “DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story,” mind you), “Skyscraper” is a sorta-kinda-but-not-really redo of “Die Hard,” but with a taller building and a brawnier hero.
The majority of the film takes place in the titular tall building. It’s a Hong Kong behemoth called The Pearl. More than 3,000 feet tall and at a cost of $6.5 billion, The Pearl is the biggest and most expensive building in the world. And it needs to be insured.
Sounds like a job for The Rock!
Johnson plays Will, a former FBI agent turned building security consultant. Will is also an amputee. We get to see how he lost his leg in the movie’s violent prologue. The prosthetic leg comes in handy in multiple action sequences.
Will brought his family to Hong Kong while he finishes his job — his wife, Sarah (Neve Campbell), and their twin kids — because, well, someone needs to be put in jeopardy.
Here’s the general plot, to the extent that I can recall it: The Rock is being set up. There’s a terrorist attack, a MacGuffin hard drive, a blazing inferno at the heart of the tower, double-crosses, triple-crosses, bang-bang.
Before long, The Rock is jumping from a crane into the burning building to save his family.
Action-wise, “Skyscraper” is a mixed bag. The computer-generated effects aren’t great, and the scenes with Johnson hanging off the side of a building aren’t even close to fooling anyone. But some of the hand-to-hand combat is fairly well done. The Rock was, after all, a professional wrestler.
The plot grows more and more ludicrous. Before long, The Rock is using duct tape to Spider-Man his way along the side the skyscraper. And I laughed, but, you know, take that with a grain of salt because my brain is dying.
The Rock is, as always, an engaging performer. And it’s nice to see Campbell on the big screen again.
And, uh ... I’m sorry, it’s just hard to muster up much of an opinion about a movie that’s named after a synonym for “building.” It’s dumb and derivative, but it also gets in and gets out in about 90 minutes, and it’s not part of a shared universe, and the movie theater had comfortable seats and air-conditioning, and sometimes, sometimes that’s enough.