This post was going to be a history of the Mr Banana Head pre-party superstitions, (much more interesting than it sounds). However, this week we all went to the cinema and I came out so aggrieved I had to share my feelings and vent a little. There will be a nice analogy at the end so it’s not just me doing a Barry Norman / Jonathon Ross / Claudia Winkleman’s mate that shows off with big words. I’ve always been a massive film fan but would never claim to be an expert of the cinematic arts. I appreciate good acting, writing, directing etc but wouldn’t be at home writing a paper on French films from 1981 that changed the world. Were there any? Escape To Victory was set in France, does that count? “Shut up Hatch.”
Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock is the highest paid actor in the world right now. £124m last year which isn’t too shabby. If you look at his filmography it’s not littered with Oscar worthy material but his films are at least slightly entertaining. He’s got charisma that’s for sure but then he made Skyscraper. What was he thinking? It’s basically a massively inferior copy of Die Hard with some Towering Inferno thrown in for good measure. I’m sorry but I can’t be bothered to expend the energy required to review this shambolic mess. Sadly, it’s 102 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. Instead, I’ll just give you my top 7 issues I have with this lazy and ridiculous waste of time. There are lots more believe me but I’ve got more important stuff to do like watch paint dry.
1. The Old On/Off Solution: Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) and his wife Sarah, (Neve Campbell) are introduced at the start of the film but she has a serious problem. Her mobile phone isn’t working properly. Noooo, it’s the end of the world. Luckily Will is there to save the day by turning it off and on for her, what a hero. He tells her intently and with complete conviction that she should always do this when stuff doesn’t work. If there’s a more obvious and crowbarred in set up for the end of a movie please let me know. Cue the end of the film and Sarah has the tablet that can save the day by turning on the sprinkler system. She’s randomly pressing everything but it won’t work.
She then remembers her husband’s wise words and restarts the tablet. It works, the water comes on and she saves the day, hurrah. The inept and one dimensional police ask her how she did it. Her painful reply (here’s the payoff) is, “I re-booted the tablet. Basically, I just turned it off and on again.” I would have screamed at the screen at this point but I’d almost lost the will to live so instead just shook my head sadly and stuffed some more popcorn in my mouth.
2. Everyman / Superman: When we meet Will Sawyer he’s a shell of his former soldier self. He has a cool looking prosthetic leg due to a failed rescue attempt ten years ago and walks with a limp and certainly can’t run. In his first fight with someone half his size he struggles and just about manages to defeat him. His disability clearly hinders him and he appears vulnerable. This is good and shows him as a character we can root for whilst being genuinely concerned for his well being. For the rest of the film however he morphs into an indestructible superhero who can run, defeat armies of baddies and all without breaking a sweat. His prosthetic leg is also only present to prop open closing doors and hook onto window frames, stopping him from plunging to his death. Ridiculous.
3. Worst Cops Ever: Do you remember the annoyingly stupid FBI agents in Die Hard? They’re Sherlock Holmes fused with Poirot compared to the morons on display here. My biggest issue is the scene where Sarah has escaped the building and is being interrogated. The cops are convinced she’s colluding with her husband who’s been framed for the fire. They’re talking in Cantonese to each other about her but as she handily went to language school there she understands them. She replies in Cantonese but they shut her down.
Literally ten seconds later they start talking in Cantonese again about how they think she’s guilty and what they should do about it. Hello, dumb cops. Do you both suffer from instant memory loss? You discovered ten seconds ago she speaks Cantonese and understands you. Why are you doing it again as if she’s not there??
4. Asthma, What Asthma?: As soon as we meet Will’s son we discover he suffers from asthma. Clearly he’s going to be close to death without his trusty inhaler by the end of the film and his dad will heroically save him. When the smoke is outside their apartment and no-where near him he’s coughing like an old man with a 60 a day habit. Five minutes later when they’re trapped, with fire and smoke all around them, he’s completely fine and running around, oblivious to everything. He then suddenly escapes to safety with his mum in an improbable 100mph lift drop that we don’t actually see the climax of. That was worth it then! Unless they completely changed the film half way through and couldn’t be bothered to edit out the references to his asthma, why bother with it?
5. The Jump: Yes, the jump. The one that you see on the trailer and posters everywhere. Let’s put aside the climbing up a 3000ft tower with one leg and then completing the world’s toughest monkey bars for a minute. I don’t have a problem with jumps in films, as long as they are realistic for what’s on show. If this was a fantasy film like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon I would accept that Will could leap a hundred and fifty feet into the air on one leg and into a burning building. Skyscraper isn’t a fantasy film however so it is stretching it’s artistic licence way too thin. In the words of Alexandra from Love Island, “Shame on you.” Watch Tom Cruise’s rooftop leap in Mission Impossible Fallout to see how it should be done. Even though he broke his ankle doing it, he still jumped up and carried on running. What a legend.
6. Hall Of Mirrors: Dwayne Johnson said he wanted this to be a homage to Die Hard and The Towering Inferno. He also bizarrely mentioned the Fugitive but I can’t see any parallels with that at all? My issue here is that they blatantly ripped off one of the final scenes in The Man With The Golden Gun and Enter The Dragon. Will comes face to face with the villains in a room filled with mirrors. Cue lots of shooting mirrors instead of people. Finally the chief villain turns around and he’s got Will’s daughter at gunpoint. What follows is a conversation at very close quarters resulting in Will throwing down his gun. As the villain goes to shoot him Will utters the ultimate payoff line: “I need to tell you something, I’m behind you.” Will throws villain off roof and saves his daughter, yay.
7. USB Stick: The reason for countless innocent deaths, the burning off a multi billion dollar tower and the driving force of the film: retrieving a USB stick. Enough said.
So here’s my tenuous analogy. Watching this ‘film’ was painful for lots of reasons but one thing struck me the most. It was lazy. Lazy storyline, lazy writing, lazy just about everything. Basically, everyone could have worked a lot harder than they did to achieve something worthwhile. It’s the same in our lives, whether it be work, relationships, self care etc. If we rest on our laurels, (what are Laurels anyway, apart from Stan’s relatives?) and don’t make an effort we won’t move forwards. We won’t improve and we won’t grow. If I’m honest with myself I could work harder on most of my relationships. I don’t take any for granted but could definitely do more.
So there you have it, make sure you don’t get complacent and lazy. If you do you might end up with a life as bad as Skyscraper and that would be a disaster. Just like the film really.
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