Skyscraper sucks Dwayne Johnson into a see-saw battle

US actor Dwayne Johnson attends the premiere of "Skyscraper" on July 10, 2018 in New York City. (AFP)
Updated 30 July 2018
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Skyscraper sucks Dwayne Johnson into a see-saw battle

CHENNAI: Most disaster films seem alike, with amazing action and thrilling turnabouts, but a few have a soul and a spirit, such as "Titanic," whose images of tragic love and longing woven into class conflict remain with us for ever. Rawson Marshall Thurber’s "Skyscraper" may not be quite as memorable, but it has a spirited story to tell us.

Actor Dwayne Johnson, a retired professional wrestler seen in movies such as "Fast and Furious," "Walking Tall," "Central Intelligence" and "Baywatch," has a disastrous beginning in "Skyscraper." As Federal Bureau of Investigation operative Will Sawyer, he loses his leg during a conflict and retires with a prosthetic limb as a security consultant, and a combat-surgeon wife, Sarah (Neve Campbell).

A decade later, Sawyer is hired by Hong Kong real-estate magnate Zhao Long Ji (Singaporean star Chin Han), to protect his pet project, The Pearl, three times taller than New York’s Empire State Building and even the Burj Khalifa — and labelled as the “safest super structure.” But before Zhao can sell the apartments in the building, Sawyer’s wife and two children move in, and disaster strikes. Terrorists with a personal axe to grind steal the safety control drive from Sawyer, deactivate The Pearl’s alarm system as well as water sprinklers, and set the 240-story edifice on fire. Their motive is to steal a flash drive locked up in Zhao’s penthouse in the building.

Sawyer, who is then outside, begins a death-defying mission to save his family and perhaps Zhao, but not before he is made a suspect by the Hong Kong cops, but cheered at every swing, every daredevil act by the onlookers down below. There are very tense moments when Sarah, trying to escape the inferno, is separated from her children, and the children themselves end up on a burning ridge with the villains trying to shoot them dead.

Skyscraper, despite its emotional highs, is a film that requires you to leave your thinking caps at home. This is no work of logic or realism, more about feats that defy belief from a man with an artificial leg. But if you are ready to crunch popcorn, sip cola and let yourself go along with Sawyer’s see-saw battle, "Skyscraper" may be worth the time and money.


What We Are Reading Today: The Proof and the Pudding by Jim Henle

Updated 21 October 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: The Proof and the Pudding by Jim Henle

  • Pleasurable and lighthearted, The Proof and the Pudding is a feast for the intellect as well as the palate

Tie on your apron and step into Jim Henle’s kitchen as he demonstrates how two equally savory pursuits — cooking and mathematics — have more in common than you realize. A tasty dish for gourmets of popular math, The Proof and the Pudding offers a witty and flavorful blend of mathematical treats and gastronomic delights that reveal how life in the mathematical world is tantalizingly similar to life in the kitchen.

Take a tricky Sudoku puzzle and a cake that fell. Henle shows you that the best way to deal with cooking disasters is also the best way to solve math problems. Or take an L-shaped billiard table and a sudden desire for Italian potstickers. He explains how preferring geometry over algebra (or algebra over geometry) is just like preferring a California roll to chicken tikka masala. Do you want to know why playfulness is rampant in math and cooking? Or how to turn stinky cheese into an awesome ice cream treat? It’s all here: original math and original recipes plus the mathematical equivalents of vegetarianism, Asian fusion, and celebrity chefs.

Pleasurable and lighthearted, The Proof and the Pudding is a feast for the intellect as well as the palate. Jim Henle is the Myra M. Sampson Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Smith College. His books include Sweet Reason: A Field Guide to Modern Logic and Calculus: The Language of Change. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.