Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the drama “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Theatres), the psychological thriller “St. Maud” (digital and on-demand), Robin Wright’s directorial debut “Land” (in theatres), the cheesy action flick “Skyfire” (VOD) and the dark comedy “Breaking News In Yuba County” (VOD).
If action with a side of cheese is your thing then “Skyfire,” now on VOD, might be a Gouda film to put on your movie queue. If not, this is nacho thing.
Set on an island in the Pacific Rim, smack dab in the middle of the Ring of Fire, an area known for volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, the story begins with vulcanologist Meng Li (Hannah Quinlivan) building an early warning system. Her boss, entrepreneur Jack Harris (Jason Isaacs), is a mirror image of Hammond from “Jurassic Park.” Hammond built a theme park where cloned dinosaurs ran amok. Harris’s vision is for an opulent resort at the base of an active volcano.
What could possibly go wrong?
When Harris and his wife JiaHui-Dong (An Bai) invite influencers and investors to luxuriate in the amenities offered in this tropical paradise, Mother Nature kicks up a fuss, spewing red hot lava over Harris’s best laid plans. On top of that, Meng Li’s estranged father shows up just in time to dodge the fireballs falling from the sky.
“Skyfire” is unapologetically cheesy. In best queso scenario (OK, I know these puns are not so grate so I’ll stop now) it should be watched with no expectation except the promise of good, mindless fun. It’s loud and proud, a movie that fills the screen with implausible action and character reactions. By the time it gets to the underwater marriage proposal it’s a contender for the 2021 Special Achievement in Silliness award.
And that’s OK. Veteran action director Simon West, he of “Con Air,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and “The Expendables 2” among others, keeps things lively as giant Styrofoam boulders fly through the air and lava carpets the earth.
Imagine the rumble of 70s disaster flicks like “Earthquake” with the nature-gone-wild plot of “Jurassic Park” and you’ll get the idea.
“Skyfire,” China’s first big-budget disaster movie, is by no means a disaster. It’s an unabashed popcorn flick that revels in its melting pot of clichés, a fondu of clichés if you will, as much as it does its preposterous storytelling.
“From the director of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Con Air, we bring you Skyfire – a Chinese disaster action mega-production.
“Tianhuo Island, located in the world-famous Pacific Rim volcanic belt, is as beautiful as a paradise.
“The idyllic location almost makes people forget that it’s in the area also infamously called the “Ring of Fire.” When the volcano erupts, the fate of the people on the island is in the hands of a geologist and her father.
“The film has Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter series, Peter Pan, The Death of Stalin), Chinese superstars and is filled with action shots. So, get yourself some popcorn, maybe a good drink or two and enjoy some giant explosions. Because what else is there to do in life?”
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Skyscraper,” the animated Adam Sandler flick “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” and the documentary “Whitney.”
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nick Dixon to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Skyscraper,” the animated Adam Sandler flick “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” the documentary “Whitney,” the biopic “Mary Shelley,” “Sorry to Bother You” starring LaKeith Stanfield and the comedy “The Death (and Life) of Carl Naardlinger.”
Dwayne Johnson has saved his family from an earthquake, fought a volcanic demon and prevented a wild, overgrown ape from destroying Chicago. If you gotta life-or-death problem, yo, he’ll solve it. His new film may be his fieriest yet. “Skyscraper” sees him hundreds of stories above the earth, trying to save his family from certain death. Let’s see him revolve that.
Johnson is former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Ford. After an bomb blast left him with a prosthetic leg he went into business as a security expert for big companies. His latest gig takes him and family, including wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) and twins, to Hong Kong where he will assess the security concerns for a building nicknamed the Eighth Wonder of the World. At three times the height of the Empire State Building, The Pearl is one of the world’s greatest architectural achievements, but is it safe? That’s what billionaire owner Zhao Min Zhi (Chin Han) wants to know. It’s the tallest most advanced building in the world, it’s a vertical city, but, as Ford says, “you have brought with it every single safety and security challenge I can think of. Not only have you brought them all indoors but you have trapped them 240 floors in the air, No one really knows what would happen if things go wrong.”
Of course things go wrong—there’d be no movie otherwise—when some terrible people sabotage the building’s security systems, starting a blaze on the ninety-sixth floor. Ford’s family is trapped above the fire line so our one-legged hero must rescue them while fighting the bad guys and convincing the cops the fire wasn’t his fault.
“Skyscraper” is the kind of over-the-top action movie that used to star Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone. It’s a manly man movie that values sweaty action over narrative logic, rockin’ schlock over the laws of physics.
It’s Johnson in full-on the video-game hero mode. Fun to watch but whatever high wire antics he gets up to ultimately the stakes aren’t very high. (SPOILER ALERT) The Rock is not going to plunge to his death, leaving his family to become lumps of coal in the world‘s biggest inferno. “Skyscraper” is all about the stunts, the adrenaline and even then they give away the film’s best deed of daring do on the poster and in the trailer.
Johnson is charismatic, has a way with a line but here he is reduced to his most obvious asset, his over developed body, capable of superhuman feats of endurance and skills. He is Hercules a slab of grade A muscle who can power his way out of any situation, most often with a roll of duct tape in tow. (Begging the question, how much did the makers of duct tape pay in product placement. Not since “The Red Green Show” has the sticky stuff been so essential to the plot.) As a man of action he’s second to known, as a character in a film, however, he not as muscular. There’s not much to Will Ford—or any character here—other than a look of grim determination and a flex arm. Even the bad guy, Kores Botha (Roland Møller), is just a Hans Gruber wannabe but without the evil charm or nasty one-liners.
“Skyscraper” is a loud, over-the-top flick. The action may entertain the eye but with no characters to care about all that’s left are plumes of smoke and fire.