Spoiler alert! The following contains minor spoilers about key action scenes in "Skyscraper," though nothing that gives away the plot.
Ever hear of those moms who get Herculean strength and can lift cars if it means protecting their kids? Imagine Dwayne Johnson is that inspired dad and he needs to pretty much take on a towering inferno singlehandledly, and you’ve got the new action film "Skyscraper."
Johnson reteams with "Central Intelligence" writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber for a "Die Hard"-esque thriller (in theaters Friday) where it’s hard to tell which is more impressive: the 3,500-foot-tall high-tech structure known as “The Pearl” or the massive gentleman known as The Rock. Johnson stars as Will Sawyer, a former FBI operative who’s now a security specialist hired to make sure all is well with this supersized building in Hong Kong. Terrorists break in and set fire to the place, Will’s framed for it, and he’s got to scale 240 stories to save his wife, Sarah (Neve Campbell), and two kids trapped inside.
Now we’ve already watched Johnson face off with giant mutated animals this year in "Rampage," but in terms of farfetchedness, "Skyscraper" makes that one look like a nature documentary. Here are the five most preposterous moments in The Rock’s new action vehicle. (There is a spoilery sixth that’s key to the insane climax, so we’re just going to let you figure that one out yourselves.)
1. That time The Rock whupped a dude – with only one leg.
It’s probably a good time to mention that Will has a prosthetic left leg. When he learns he has been bamboozled on his new gig, Will gets physical with a foe who rips off his removable appendage. No matter, because Will throws down and hops around in an all-out brawl, with Johnson even busting out his old signature “Rock Bottom” wrestling maneuver and putting the guy through a table. It's the most realistic of the over-the-top action set pieces, where being “like a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest” is a good thing.
2. That time The Rock climbed a really tall crane.
Will can’t just stroll in the front door of The Pearl when he becomes Hong Kong’s most wanted. So he finds a construction crane next door and climbs up 96 stories to get above the fire line — and relatively quickly, considering that he has a wounded arm and probably a couple of broken ribs after falling out of a small building. Meanwhile, the cops in hot pursuit just take the crane's elevator, which seems totally unfair.
3. That time The Rock jumped into a burning building.
After Will gets to the top of the construction crane, he configures it to max extension and manages to get a grappling hook onto the side of The Pearl. Unfortunately, that falls off and, with the police bearing down, he gets a running start, leaps off the crane and grabs onto a beam on the other side — which comes loose, leaving him hanging. It’s reminiscent of Vin Diesel driving a sports car from one Abu Dhabi high-rise to another in "Furious 7," but just way more impressive.
4. That time The Rock held up a bridge by himself.
Will finds his family – yay! – in the park that lies in the middle of The Pearl. (The place is fancy like that.) It’s a fiery mess, though, and one of his children gets caught on the opposite side of a broken bridge. Will gets his wife to grab a beam and create a makeshift crossing while he literally holds up a detached (and really heavy) part of the bridge so the kid can get to safety. He probably can take his next shoulder day off at the gym now.
5. That time The Rock took on a wind turbine — and won.
The bad guys take Will’s daughter, Georgia (McKenna Roberts), hostage and to get her back, Will needs to open the 10-inch titanium doors of The Pearl’s panic room on the 220th floor. Our hero doesn’t have the computer access to enter the place, and the only path to turning off the security is outside on the top of one of the wind turbines powering the skyscraper. Using a statue, rope and a bunch of duct tape, Will rappels off the building and times his jump onto the turbine just right so he’s not chopped to bits. “This is stupid,” he says at one point. Agreed, but it’s stupid only if you can’t do it, man.