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Why is this 2018 action movie starring The Rock so popular on Netflix right now?

Dwayne Johnson in the poster for Skyscraper.
Universal Pictures

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson started his career as a wrestler in WWE, and that’s what he’s been doing again as recently as WrestleMania. Outside of the ring, Johnson established himself as one of the top action stars in Hollywood. In that capacity, Johnson starred in the 2018 action thriller Skyscraper, which is currently one of the most popular movies on Netflix.

Although Skyscraper is not Johnson’s best action movie, it is underrated compared not only to his own films but also to the rest of the modern action flicks. So, if you’re looking for an action fix this week, here are three reasons why The Rock’s Skyscraper is an underrated action movie.

Johnson allows himself to be more physically vulnerable

Dwayne Johnson in Skyscraper.
Universal Pictures

Black Adam may have been Johnson’s first comic book movie, but he’s been playing nearly invulnerable superheroes for years. We could fill up an entire essay about the way Luke Hobbs — Johnson’s character in the Fast and Furious films — is so over-the-top that he breaks a cast on his arm by flexing his muscles. That’s not a feat that Will Sawyer — Johnson’s character in Skyscraper — can pull off.

At the beginning of the movie, we see the incident where Sawyer loses part of his leg while serving on the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team. Sawyer uses an artificial leg for the rest of the film, but it limits what he can physically do. In many ways, this is still a typical Dwayne Johnson action flick, but it seems rare to see The Rock in fights that he’s no longer guaranteed to win. That sense of desperation on Sawyer’s part adds tension to the film.

It’s Die Hard by way of The Towering Inferno

Neve Campbell and Dwayne Johnson in Skyscraper.
Universal Pictures

Is Skyscraper as good as Die Hard? No, of course not … and it’s not even close. Die Hard is a peak action movie and still our favorite Christmas flick. But Skyscraper is enjoyable on its own terms, and it does shake up the Die Hard formula a bit by adding elements from The Towering Inferno. Sawyer was only supposed to inspect a massive building in Hong Kong as a security consultant, but he finds himself framed for an attack on the building that leaves several of its highest floors on fire.

More pressingly, Sawyer’s wife, Sarah (Neve Campbell), and their two children are trapped in the building when the fires begin. Since Sawyer was on the outside during the incident, he has to break back into the building to save his family and clear his name. As Die Hard clones go, it’s pretty good at retelling an old story.

It has good action sequences

McKenna Roberts and Dwayne Johnson in Skyscraper.
Universal Pictures

In almost every Dwayne Johnson movie, the action is almost as much of a draw as he is. Skyscraper doesn’t reinvent the genre, and it’s not innovative. But it doesn’t have to be. The only thing this movie promises is around 90 minutes of PG-13 action thrills, and that’s what it delivers.

Ironically, Skyscraper had a very disappointing run at the box office, ending with under $70 million domestically. But to the vast majority of Netflix subscribers, it plays like a brand new action movie they’ve never seen—and it’s a lot better than Johnson’s original Netflix film, Red Notice.

Skyscraper - Official Trailer [HD]

Sometimes, you just have to take your wins where you can find them. And right now, Skyscraper is a bigger hit on Netflix than it ever was in theaters.

Watch Skyscraper on Netflix.

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Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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