Skyscraper is a 2018 American action film written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, and starring Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber and Hannah Quinlivan. The film follows Johnson as a former FBI agent who must rescue his family from a newly built skyscraper, the tallest in the world, after it is taken over by criminals and set on fire. The first non-comedy of Thurber’s career, it also marks his second collaboration with Johnson, following Central Intelligence (2016).
Wealthy Chinese financier and entrepreneur Zhao Long Ji has funded the construction of the world’s tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong, standing at 3,500 feet (1,100 m) and 225 stories tall, which they call “The Pearl”. Although the building is structurally complete, the construction process has been not without complications and the building has yet to be opened to the public.
U.S. Marine war veteran and retired FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader, Will Sawyer, now assesses security for skyscrapers. A suicide explosion from a previous mission has left him one leg amputated, below the knee. He is fitted with a modern prosthetic leg, which keeps his full mobility. Sawyer is tasked with inspecting the Pearl, and his family – wife Sarah and twin children Georgia and Henry move into the building. Sawyer confirms to Zhao, security directors Ajani Okeke and Sawyer’s friend and fellow ex-FBI agent Ben Gillespie, and insurance executive Mr. Pierce, that the building’s fire and security systems are secure, but he needs to inspect the offsite security center that controls the system. Zhao then hands Sawyer a tablet computer that gives full administrative access to The Pearl’s computer systems that can only be unlocked by facial recognition.
While heading to the offsite security center, a thief working for Kores Botha, an international terrorist with ties to many major crime syndicates, attempts to steal the tablet from Sawyer but fails, resulting in Ben revealing that he too is working with Botha so that he can ruin Sawyer out of jealousy, before attacking Sawyer to steal the tablet himself. In the struggle Ben is mortally wounded, and warns Sawyer that Botha’s men will kill him for the tablet before he dies. As he leaves, Botha’s subordinate Xia steals the tablet from Sawyer before infiltrating the security center and killing all the personnel there. Meanwhile, Botha and his mercenaries start a fire on the 96th floor of the building, triggering and activating the advanced computer controlled fire extinguishing system installed throughout the skyscraper. A hacker at the security center then hacks the tablet, disabling the facial recognition and giving him access to The Pearl’s security systems, locking out administrative access to The Pearl to Zhao and his team, as well as disabling all the fire extinguishing systems above the 95th floor, creating an impenetrable fire line that cuts off all rescue operations from below to assist the survivors on the upper floors. After doing so, Xia shoots the hacker.