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Skyscraper: The Magic Fire

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

Macgyver my how big your biceps have grown . . .
. . . then you aren't using enough duct tape!

Overall this was a fun movie. And I certainly didn't get what I expected, I'll tell you that. When I saw the previews to this movie I thought 'oh look Die Hard with The Rock'. It made sense that they had to give the main character a prosthetic leg, just to try to balance the fight. But in the end the movie was more like if Macgyver had started juicing . . . with steroids. Not that I think The Rock is using, but I just can't imagine Richard Dean Anderson ever being that buff.

Why Macgyver? Because not only does our silverback gorilla shaped (god I hope he doesn't read this) hero love his duct tape, but he also hates guns. In fact, he hates guns after an incident where an armed man blew up . . . well, everybody. And he actually states 'if you can't fix it with duct tape, you aren't using enough duct tape'! I'm sure if Macgyver was a real person he'd be so proud.

As an action flick this movie was certainly entertaining. But, as with many action flicks there are some events and premises that don't quite pass muster.

First the movie shows some substance that ignites on contact with water . . . that burns for hours. The only thing I'm aware of that does this is a mixture of Magnesium powder and silver nitrate. The problem is, this substance flashes. It does not burn slowly. Now, I know what you're thinking . . . what if that was simply the igniter and they were using more conventional fuel? Well then I have a regular old fire with the sprinkler systems on full. And thanks to our hero unwittingly thwarting the bad guys right at the beginning of the movie this is the status quo for half an hour or so. Does not compute.

Aside from that, how much in a skyscraper burns, because there's no way your going to get a thousand foot fire without significant combustibles all the way up. Other than the park (With all its undoubtedly damp wood) there really wouldn't be much to burn. Hell, the place wasn't even open yet, so there'd be almost no furniture. But hey, if we didn't have that then we wouldn't have a reason for The Rock to climb a hundred stories of crane to get to his family. Which meant he wouldn't have been exhausted when fighting the mercenaries that had taken the top of the building.

That's just not fair.

Another big issue I had with the movie was that they had their fire control systems in a completely separate building, apparently at the other end of town. Whose genius idea was that? Why not at the top of the tower where it would be hardest to tamper with? It's almost like the writer's answer is 'so bad people can hijack it'.

On the other hand this movie did blatantly ignore several common tropes set by Hollywood. The first being with Sawyer's family. Sarah Sawyer (played by Neve Campbell) is a badass in her own right. Not only does she keep her head when the crisis begins, and do her own part in foiling the overall plot, but she don't take no shit from no one. The kids also don't blindly follow the first adult that claims to be a nice guy, which is refreshing.

And to top it all off, the rich guy in the movie, Zhao Long Ji (played by Ng Chin Han) is a stand up guy. Not only does he show obvious concern for the Sawyer family, but he rushes to his bodyguard's aid when he's shot, losing a precious chance to escape. And at the end of the movie he sticks his neck way out there to save Sawyer's little girl. A nice change from the 'all rich people are evil' trope that's run amok lately. I just don't understand why he didn't offer Sawyer the job of building security at the end.

I also enjoyed the interplay between the various members of the Sawyer family. It added some nice humor throughout the story.

As a story this movie defied expectations several ways. Most were good; a few could have been avoided with a quick Google search. Still, I'd give it an 82%.

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