Let’s face it — no one goes to see movies starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson because they expect high Shakespearean drama. And if they do, they end up sorely disappointed.
No matter, however — movies starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are a ton of fun, mostly because the wrestler-turned-entrepreneur is a lot of fun.
And, at the star-studded premiere of his latest bang’em up film, Skyscraper, Johnson more than proved he was — and is — the nicest guy in the business. His genteel demeanor belied his oversized frame, delighting even the most jaded of New York City onlookers. He was the first to arrive and the last to leave and indulged nearly every press request, fan, and red carpet friend he made along the way.
But Johnson did not arrive at the NYC premiere alone. The red carpet event, which took place at the AMC Lowes Theater in Lincoln Square — not far from other cultural institutions such as The Walter Reed Theater, Juilliard, and The Metropolitan Opera — also featured Dany Garcia, his ex-wife and one of the executive producers of the film (Johnson says that he and Garcia, who were married for 11 years and share a daughter, Simone, remain “the best of friends,” and she is also his manager and producing partner).
Johnson’s mother, Ata Johnson (nee Maivia), also showed up and showed out, and there was a wonderful moment when three generations of Maivia-Johnsons — Ata, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Simone Johnson — came together for some photos on the red carpet.
With all of that said, Skyscraper is…well…Skyscraper. The film, which also stars Neve Campbell and Pablo Schreiber, borrows more than plenty from the 1974 classic film, The Towering Inferno, which starred Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. All the classic Towering Inferno elements are there: a fire starts in a gorgeous building, the action hero has to save his family, edge-of-your-seat danger at every turn (who will live? Who will die? Nobody knows but Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who plays Will Sawyer in the same vein as Bruce Willis played John McClane). The sole twist in Skyscraper is that Sawyer somehow gets framed for the building’s fire by terrorists, which…huh?
In short, Skyscraper is by no means a classic film, and it’s questionable if it’s even an original film. It is, however, a fun film — a nice palate cleanser, if you will, from heavier and oh-so-deep arthouse movie fare that one normally finds in these environs — and that’s thanks in no small part to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who is the most likeable — and most bankable — actor in Hollywood today.