SKYSCRAPER & DIE HARD
While watching Skyscraper, thought I was transported back to 1988 the year the best Die Hard movie was released. The differences between these two action movies – 2018 Skyscraper and 1988 Die Hard – include:
- Dwayne Johnson as Will Sawyer in Skyscraper versus Bruce Willis as John McClane in Die Hard,
- Will Sawyer’s whole family was in the skyscraper not just his wife,
- The “Pearl” (an imaginary building) was 225-stories, Die Hard’s fictional Nakatomi Plaza (filmed at the real Fox Plaza was 40-stories),
- Terrorist groups were involved in both films. Scandanavian Botha (Roland Moller) in 2018, West German Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) – the coolest bad guy ever – in 1988,
- In 1988 Bruce Willis took the elevator to the top, in 2018 The Rock got to the top but not by elevator,
- There was comedic relief in Die Hard in Argyle (De’voreaux White) the limousine driver, Skyscraper had a couple duct tape jokes.
- 2018 3D versus 1988 2D.
Skyscraper employs high tech CGI images to create suspense, action, and thrills and they do it very well. In 1988, Die Hard did not have the same technology so Die Hard made the suspense and the action personal. You really feel the pain as Bruce Willis picks glass out of his bare feet. Duane Johnson in 2018 appears more like a superhero able to withstand major injuries, literally leap into tall buildings, and if that wasn’t enough – he also has a disability.
The cops in both movies are conservative, lackadaisical, and basically not bright. Each movie has one main cop who shows support for the main protagonist from afar. In Die Hard the supportive cop is the very likeable Sgt. Al Powel (Reginald Vel Johnson, below on the right), in Skyscraper the supportive cop is the reserved leader of the HKPF response team Inspector Wu (Byron Mann). In Die Hard you feel good when Sgt. Al Powell met John McClane at the end of the movie, a very touching moment. In Skyscraper, Sawyer & Wu’s meeting is brief, at a distance, and not fulfilling.
And of course the wives – kudos to the 1988 Die Hard for portraying Holly Gennero-McClane (Bonnie Bedelia, below on the right) as a strong, cool-headed woman who plays a part in ending the conflict. This might be a big reason Die Hard still holds up after 30 years. In 2018 strong, cool-headed is not enough. Will Sawyer’s wife, Sarah Sawyer (Neve Campbell, below on the left) is not only physically capable but also more capable than the Police. Sarah Sawyer does it all – well she did serve a couple of tours in Afghanistan.
Comparing Die Hard and Skyscraper is unavoidable, hope I did not overdo (at least I did not bring up The Tower Inferno). Plot summary is deleting because you know what happens – fire and/or Terrorists, tall building – try to rescue. Skyscraper is a good movie but the thrills and excitement come mainly from the computer generated images and actions and less from the guttural feelings of pain and suffering, or they didn’t convince me about those feelings. The Rock does a fine job at executing the action and the feelings from his family are portrayed fairly well. Skyscraper gets a 4.5 for action and imaging and a 3.o for pain, suffering, plot, and emotional scenes – average is a 3.5. Die Hard gets a 4.5 for standing the test of time and suspense and excitement.