Complete A-Z list



Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Roland Moller, Noah Taylor, McKenna Roberts, Hannah Quinlivan, Byron Mann, Chin Han, Noah Cottrell, Pablo Schreiber

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Here's a film that wants to be Die Hard Meets The Towering Inferno. If it isn't quite that, it does remain a rattling if improbable thriller that scarcely pauses for breath.

Johnson plays Will Sawyer, a one-time hostage assessor who lost a leg in one such confrontation and now works as a security/safety expert, currently being hired to look over the world's tallest, most modern building, in Hong Kong - The Pearl, brainchild of entrepreneur Long Ji (Han).

Naturally, dirty work is afoot and terrorists plan to set fire to the 92nd floor, so they can do, well, whatever terrorists do, and soon find a way to escalate the blaze. Trouble is, Johnson's wife (Campbell) and kids are still in the building (above the 92nd) and, after dispatching the 'friend' (Schreiber) who hired him, Sawyer, now suspected of collusion in the fire, climbs the building in an attempt to rescue them, while the bad guys endeavour to get their hands both on Sawyer's family and on the gizmo held by Han that controls the building.

The film has spectacular effects and edge-of-seat excitements a-plenty, with Johnson sweating blood in the leading role, and Campbell, who also gets to kick some bad-guy butt, looking great at 44, all these years after the Scream films.

The villains however are on the weak side, from Moller's Alan Rickman wannabe, through Taylor's suited (obvious) traitor, to an oriental villainess straight out of a Fu Manchu film. It's a feast for the eye if not quite for the mind.

One little genetic quibble: Johnson's kids have darker skin than his in spite of the fact that his wife is white. The film, however, still makes great stuff for the popcorn crowd.

David Quinlan

USA 2018. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by Company 3 (print by deluxe Technicolor).
101 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 11 Jul 2018