Die Hard isn’t just lauded as perhaps the single greatest action movie ever made, as John McTiernan’s classic is also one of the most influential. John McClane’s misadventures in the Nakatomi Plaza have served as the inspiration for countless similar titles over the last 30 years, many of which are terrible, but others rank as some of the finest actioners of the modern era in their own right.
Under Siege, Passenger 57, Executive Decision, Air Force One, Con Air, Cliffhanger, Speed, Sudden Death, White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen have all taken the basic high concept formula established in Die Hard and transplanted it to battleships, planes, mountains, buses, stadiums and the White House respectively to wildly mixed results. Homaging the Bruce Willis classic is never going to go out of fashion, though, which is why Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Skyscraper looked like such a slam dunk on paper.
Take one dash of action greatness, throw in lashings of one of the best disaster epics in The Towering Inferno, tie it all together with Dwayne Johnson, who’s the biggest movie star on the planet, in the lead role and success was virtually guaranteed. However, Skyscraper was drastically less than the sum of its parts, and would have bombed at the box office had it not been for a strong showing in China, where it raked in almost a third of the movie’s $304 million global haul, completely vindicating the studio’s decision to set the story in Hong Kong.
Inexplicably, the painfully disappointing and relentlessly mediocre blockbuster has been the latest terrible actioner to dominate Netflix‘s most-watched list, where it’s remained all week now, and is even drawing in more viewers than much of the streaming service’s Christmas-orientated content. Which makes you wonder just why so many subscribers are flocking to the film.