How close is this movie to The Towering Inferno and Die Hard? Just take a look at one of two posters that its star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, commissioned to celebrate those films when this was released. Look — this is a summer blockbuster. If you’re going to worry about how much it steals or how stupid it is, you picked the wrong movie.
Wealthy Chinese financier and entrepreneur Zhao Long Ji is building the tallest skyscraper in the world in Hong Kong called The Pearl. To solve some of the building’s security issues, he hires former U.S. Marine and retired FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader Will Sawyer (Johnson). Even though he’s built a new life for himself, Sawyer is struggling with the past, including a mission where a suicide bomber took his left leg.
Once he gets the job of inspecting the Pearl, Sawyer, his wife Sarah (Neve Campbell, Scream) and twins Georgia and Henry move in. It seems like the building’s fire and security systems are secure, but he doesn’t trust the building’s offsite security center. Zhao gives Sawyer a tablet that gives him full access to the security system, but our protagonist is set up by his former partner, ex-FBI agent Ben Gillespie.
Now, a cadre of terrorists and criminals led by Kores Botha has taken over The Pearl, with Sawyer’s family trapped inside. Soon, the building is on fire, loved ones are trapped and the film becomes extended stunt sequences where The Rock jumps from a crane into a burning building hundreds of feet above the Earth. Your enjoyment of this film will depend on how many times you want to see The Rock cheat death.
We watched this with Becca’s parents, who were a divided lot. Her mother enjoyed this film more than any living being has ever loved a movie before, jumping and yelling with every single stunt, literally on the edge of her seat. But her father was upset the minute the movie started, sure that it was going to be unrealistic. Well, he was right. He’s also someone unafraid to loudly drum his opinion into your ear for the entire running time of a film, so he threatened to rage quit watching it. It’s not often that you get to watch a movie with two people who have such opposite opinions, yet are sitting so close.