Thursday, October 11, 2018

Skyscraper 4K Ultra HD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s latest action thriller is now available to own on 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray and DVD.  The heart racing film puts the hero at the top of the world’s largest building, who will stop at nothing to save his family from a deadly blaze within.  Skyscraper reunites Johnson with Rawson Marshall Thurber, who previously directed him in Central Intelligence. It also stars Neve Campbell.

Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) is a former FBI Hostage Team Leader.  After a tragic incident on the job, where civilians and team members lost their lives and were injured, Sawyer lost his leg.  He is now a security consultant who is married to the trauma surgeon who helped repair him.  Will has two beautiful children and a former team mate has recommended him for a high-profile job.  His family has traveled with him to Hong Kong, where he is on assignment, assessing The Pearl, a virtual city in the sky. 

The bottom half of this gargantuan structure is open and thriving but the top remains closed. His independent third party assessment will allow the building to finally be fully insured.  Will leaves his family to visit the pandas on site and he heads to complete the final phase of his checks, offsite.  Soon the building is ablaze with the Sawyer family trapped inside and Will finds himself fighting his way back inside to save the ones he loves.  Even worse, it appears the fires were deliberately set and will is the prime suspect.  He attempts to find the responsible parties and clear his name while battling fire and bad guys in the tallest building on earth. 

As far as I am concerned, everyone on the planet can be split into two categories – those who are fans of Dwayne Johnson and those who are not.  If you don’t love the man then you shouldn’t watch his movies.  You have to love the man and believe (as I do) that he can leap from cranes on to skyscrapers, with only one good leg.  Any mortal would have died many times, but he’s not a mortal….he’s ‘The Rock’.  He can run through fire. He can jump in and out of windows.  He can do anything.  Be ready for that almost silly, okay, all the way silly type of action where only Dwayne Johnson or someone with superpowers could pull of these stunts.  If you are going to start asking questions about whether or not the action is plausible, this probably isn’t the movie for you.  

I also liked the fact that the mom, Neve Campbell, kicks butt in this movie as well.  She takes out a few bad guys to save her family. I also find that completely plausible. I believe that Dwayne Johnson would only be married to a woman who would kick a little butt and they would have offspring that can kick butt too, because that happens as well. Again, realism isn’t what they were going for. I enjoyed the fact that they gave Johnson a fight with another big guy, Pablo Schreiber and put them in a small apartment.  Neve Campbell had an interesting fight inside a car. The stunts inside and outside the building offer some interesting visuals, new things you haven’t seen a million times before in every other action movie.

I’m sure people compared this to Die Hard because it’s about bad guys in a building and I don’t care.  John McClane did his thing in Nakatomi Tower, which is wonderful and classic and this is something else. This is ‘The Rock’ in a bigger building with fire. I have room for both films in my life and you should too. The film is well cast, the action was well rehearsed, is over the top (in a good way) and it’s a good popcorn action flick.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Skyscraper’s 4K Ultra HD is available in Dolby Vision, which offers greater brightness and contrast as well a fuller palette of rich colors. The film is shown in a widescreen 16:9, 2.40:1 ratio. The fine detail and texture is noticeable when the soot and grime appears on the actor’s skin. If you look closely at the tape rolls, you’ll pick out more than you’d see on Blu-ray there as well. In the darker moments, the 4K UHD performs very well, as you aren’t straining to comprehend the action. The beauty and colors as the pearl opens up to show “heaven” also offers your UHD a chance to shine.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Skyscraper’s 4K Ultra HD features a Dolby Atmos soundtrack (as does the Blu-ray). There is plenty of gunfire to test out the guts of your surround sound.  The roar of the raging fire and its directionality is important to feeling immersed in the action. Dialogue is even and consistent and doesn’t get drowned out by the action elements.
Extras (4 out of 5 stars)
The Bonus Features are all found on the 4K disc, in high definition, and are also available on all other formats.   
  • Deleted Scenes (12:10 total runtime) – available with optional commentary by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber and play all functionality 
    • Opening Park Scene with the Sawyer family 
    • Dead Body in the Bathtub 
    • Zhao and Pierce discuss Will Sawyer Cantonese and English 
    • Try Hard 
  • Extended Scenes (10:18 total runtime) – available with optional commentary by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber and play all functionality
    • Farmhouse Opening 
    • Bag Steal 
    • Xia blows up the off-site facility 
    • Park Fire with Boiling Water 
    • Sand Barge Shootout 
  • Dwayne Johnson: Embodying a Hero (4:05) – Dwayne Johnson discusses how the character of Will Sawyer is different from others, even though he is used to playing tough guys. Cast and crew talk about the excellent performance Johnson gives, making Sawyer a relatable, vulnerable, deep character – that would do anything for his family. 
  • Inspiration (4:13) – The physically and emotionally demanding role was based on real life amputee and motivational speaker Jeff Glasbriner. Glasbriner is the first amputee to climb Everest and provided on set consultations and support for Johnson. 
  • Opposing Forces (2:36) – The women of Skyscraper are deadly too – see Neve Campbell and Hannah Quinlivanan prepare for the action. 
  • Friends No More (3:22) – Pablo Schrieber has Dwayne Johnson’s height and put’s up a very good fight inside the apartment. See the training and preparation that went into the fight in Ben’s apartment and hear Johnson and Schrieber’s thoughts about the struggle. 
  • Kids In Action (2:41) – Even the Sawyer children are action heroes and the search for Henry and Georgia was thorough. See audition footage and hear about the fun they had getting dirty while the adults assure the viewers that safety was never a concern. 
  • Pineapple Pitch (1:38) – A discussion of how the film came to be and the joke Dwayne Johnson played on the director when he agreed to sign on to this project. 
  • Feature Commentary by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber

Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
Skyscraper is not Oscar worthy, and I don’t ever walk into a film staring Dwayne Johnson expecting that.  They are usually fun.  This is a re-watchable film.  Even when you know who all the bad guys are and whether or not the family is going to get out alive, it is still enjoyable.  It’s a good weekend popcorn action movie with a healthy list of well thought out extras.  The technical merits of the 4K UHD are very good and the film itself isn’t bad.  Recommended.

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