Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has repeatedly said that he wanted Skyscraper to be his tribute to the iconic Die Hard, which starred Bruce Willis and was released in 1988. With the new action thriller hitting theaters on Friday, many are already comparing the two and saying how Skyscraper is actually the family-friendly version of Willis’ smash hit. The only thing that they may not realize is that Johnson’s new film pretty much stole the script made for John McClane.
Here is your official warning that there are going to be spoilers in this article for both Die Hard and the new film Skyscraper. By now, you probably should have seen Die Hard, as it is 30-years-old, but Skyscraper is a brand new release.
So, if you don’t want to know, then, stop reading now.
Skyscraper stars Johnson as Will Sawyer, a former FBI agent who is now a safety consultant for the largest building in the world: The Pearl. Soon, a gang of terrorists infiltrates the building and all hell breaks loose, which causes Sawyer to spring to the rescue of his family, who are trapped inside.
In Die Hard, Willis stars as NYPD detective John McClane, who is attending a party given by his wife’s company at a very tall building in Los Angeles: The Nakatomi Building. Soon, a gang of terrorists infiltrates the building and all hell breaks loose which causes McClane to save the day.
But wait, there’s more. Let’s take a look at all of the similarities between the two movies.
First of all, let’s look at the basics of the two movies.
Die Hard has a hard-nosed detective in John McClane (Bruce Willis), who is taking on a band of terrorists led by foreign top bad guy, Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). Skyscraper has former FBI agent Will Sawyer (Johnson) taking on a band of terrorists led by foreign top bad guy, Kores Botha (Rolan Moller).
The movies both take place in giant buildings where the main person under fire is an Asian-American who is “charge,” so to speak. In Die Hard, that man is Joseph Toshinobu Takagi, who is played by James Shigeta, while in Skyscraper, it is Zhao Long Ji, played by Chin Han.
In both films, the heroes have families which are an almost perfect nuclear dynamic. John McClane is married to Holly Gennaro McClane (Bonnie Bedelia), but they are having some marital issues. Sawyer is married to Sarah, who is played by Neve Campbell. Both couples also have two children, each family with a boy and a girl.
But wait, there’s still more.
From there, if you’re a true fan of Die Hard, you’re going to notice a lot of scenes that are almost identically recreated in Skyscraper. There are likely more, but these will definitely stand out to the hardcore fans of the 1988 classic.
Again, major spoilers ahead.
Opening of the Vault/Penthouse
- Die Hard: The vault door opens via computer for the villains and they can get to the money.
- Skyscraper: The penthouse door opens via tablet for the villains to go after the data.
Hanging out the window
- Die Hard: McClane breaks the glass, wraps a firehose around his waist, and uses it to swing through a window and climb back up.
- Skyscraper: Sawyer breaks the glass, wraps a rope around his waist, and uses it to climb out, swing around, and climb back up.
Saving a female and allowing the villain to fall to their death
- Die Hard: McClane saves Holly and forces Hans to fall out the window and down the building.
- Skyscraper: Sawyer saves his daughter and forces Kores to fall through the hole and down the building.
The waterfall in the building and smoke alarm fire system with cooling jets
The power being shut off to the building
The police being against the good guy (McClane and Sawyer) and thinking he is with the enemy.
There are some other moments that take from other Die Hard films, and fans are sure to recognize those as well, but you can find those out for yourself. Skyscraper only has a 51 percent from Rotten Tomatoes after one day of release, while Die Hard still has a 93 percent after 30 years. Obviously, they are not the same film, as they have different settings, different leads, different characters, and much more.
Will Sawyer may not be John McClane, but Skyscraper is sure trying to be Die Hard.