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Skyscraper (2018 film) [review]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Skyscraper (2018 film) [review]; published October 15, 2019, 22:19; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=10255.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574254655, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Skyscraper (2018 film) [review]}}, month = {October},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=10255}}


This is a Skyscraper (2018 film) review seeing as if we have yet another CGI-altered actor - Dwayne Johnson - try to virtually embody the amputee role that should have been given, clearly, to a real amputee actor. Particularly for this movie.

I (ir)regularly review movies (that I come across) that feature (possibly faked or real) (and there mostly arm) amputees. Readers of my reviews typically may get this wrong: but I am not reviewing a movie for its overall plausibility, or its overall entertainment aspect, or maybe its overall relation to contemporary culture generally, here. Here, I am specifically asking how the movie relates to the view of (arm) amputees in society and how it may influence such a view. I ask, what normative angle the film makers take and what normative views they pass on to the viewers. Given that virtually no one nowadays meets an (arm) amputee in a whole life time, virtually all "knowledge" of (arm) amputees they possibly have is obtained via media, so these film makers exploit great social power.

But this movie? Had me scratch me head, to be honest.

Skyscraper is a movie that follows a very, very typical plot seen so many times before: the injured veteran soldier Sawyer is now a private consultant, that has his own stereotypically nuclear family - wife and two children - and becomes embroiled in some terrorist high rise lockup situation.There is a "happy" ending, so that is that.

So really this is Terminator, Die Hard, and some other vigilante type Charles Bronson movies, repeated. Why has this new wrap a CGI-edited Dwayne Johnson, and not a true and real amputee actor, if at all the disability here plays any role at all (other than helping to add to incremental aggravation)? The answer follows at once.

Dwayne Johnson does not even seem to actually act in a theatrical sense - his facial expressions are, in a similar way as the acting of Harrison Ford in some movies: mostly either straight or irritated looking. So any added virtual plaster or virtually missing leg does not really change anything. A cameo appearance by an actual prosthetic leg that is supposedly strong enough to keep a strong safe door open is a deeply evil joke that really is made on behalf of all of us that wear the actual crap that one really gets and that folds up at every corner. So, good one, that one (see image).

(C) Copyright Universal Pictures

To fictionally suggest that a prosthetic leg should have such a strength is a real teaser, maybe humanity still goes ("goes", prosthetic leg, bwahaha, get it?) in that direction and we can have the type of material strength teased in this movie, in, say, 200 or 500 years? If at all humans still exist by then, climate and all. Right now, not sure we love the makers of Skyscraper for that type of fan fiction of (what at this point in the plot surely must have been one hell of) a smelly leg. And so some minutes later, even the main characters get that, and so Sarah states during the happy end, "You really need a shower". Maybe that is the hard acting here: the prosthetic leg and the stump that are really smelly are not there - they are postprocessed. The actor really does not need that shower but still, his film-wife tells him to wash? I guess that was why I was deeply impressed over that scene?

At any rate, this is not even really a movie that requires any cinematic consideration other than an appreciation of maybe some shallow goofs and quirks. Like, at what point in action movie history did the hero's body hygiene become a side plot, at all? It is, certainly script and acting wise, an utterly cheap - and as such surely endearing and entertaining (I do have a Charles Bronson DVD box set so I should know!) - story, at least if not exclusively for all that longed to see some approximation towards Die Hard 6. The main indicator for that is clearly that Dwayne Johnson was also CGI-edited to exhibit (almost) no hair on his head, in resemblance to the way Bruce Willis left leaving his mark on Die Hard "4" and "5". Whether or not they actually needed the main character to be virtually edited as amputee is not the question - really, the virtually hosed leg adds more of some tacky Terminator element (as in: element of a bloodless "ah" on repetitive virtual apparent dismemberment, i.e., prosthetic leg comes off accidentally here or there) than it adds anything else. So it's yet another goof stick, we do wonder why Sawyer did not take time to tack his prosthetic leg on with more duct tape.

Really, this only is about why they did not use a true actor with a real amputation.

And the real reason is probably because the director seems to be totally into tacky movies. The greatest quote, ever, therefore is "GOT ANY DUCT TAPE?" (Sawyer).

Executive summary: Like every amputee, Sawyer ends up particularly smelly at the end of a typical work day. Because the actor Dwayne Johnson is not a real amputee, he has to act smelly - which is awfully hard as long as no one says so. But the audience realizes that something about Sawyer's body odor is off, way before the movie wife does, while the audience does not get to tell the actor that (no one even tried to scream), only his movie wife - and while the actor really is not smelly and does not wear a prosthetic leg at all, the wife-playing actress totally has to act this one out, and we all feel at this moment: man, get in that shower. This really is an excellent parable for our everyday life: we never smell that we stink, our wives do. Also, wives don't come home stinky hand have their husbands tell them to shower, so really, there is only this one constellation - told you, it was conservative. Also, over the course of this movie, Sawyer's supposed prosthetic leg comes off a few times during various activities, which must be because Sawyer, a declared outspoken fan of duct tape, forgot to fix his prosthetic leg to his body using sufficient amounts of duct tape. Clearly, no real amputee actor would have gone through with such total nonsense (I mean, duct tape to fix your prosthesis and then no use of duct tape to allow for leg falling off a few times? is there a prosthetist on the set? MEDIC!!!??), which must have been the reason they used CGI instead of a real amputee actor. The main quote of the movie is "GOT ANY DUCT TAPE?".

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