If you’ve seen the trailers, you’ll know Johnson (now taking over the crown from Arnie, Bruce and Stallone as the human special effect) plays a man with only one complete leg because the other is partially using a prosthetic. You find out how this comes about early on, but as well as one of his legs, something else that’s been missing from cinema screens, and for what feels like an eternity is Neve Campbell. He’s Will, she’s Sarah, and they have two annoying kids who are apparently twins, but like all cinema children, they look nothing like each other.
There’s a new building in Hong Kong, that dwarves the Burj Khalifa which Tom Cruise hung off in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and in the next film, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Cruise was hassled by sore-voiced Sean Harris as Solomon Lane, and I thought he was in this, too, but it’s a man called Roland Møller as the baddie. Why did I think they were the same? Because they BOTH have a sore voice sound, and they look identical. They could basically be brothers from the same mother! Let’s get them both in the same movie, next time!
Anyway, that misconception out of the way, and while the bottom half of the building is already spoken for, the top half is due to be residential, but is not yet open until Dwayne gives it the go-ahead as he’s the building safety guy.
In The Pearl – the ball-like structure at the top of the tower – it’s not just there for decoration, as it contains 317 HD screens which all rise up out of the floor, and the inside surface of the sphere is made up of 25,000 HD screens, each with 8K cameras inside and out, so you can switch them to show the outside and make it look like you’re standing in mid-air. Yes, I made a note of all those numbers, because I’d like that many TVs, too.
There’s a point at which the baddies set the building on fire, which means it has unfortunate echoes of the Grenfell Tower disaster, as the fire breaks out on floor 96, but those in charge remark that they’re over 100 floors higher, so there’s not a chance the fire can climb that high…
Best thing about the film for me, was Hannah Quinlivan as hot Chinese female baddie Xia, who was second-in-command to Botha. Elsewhere, there’s the obligatory ‘takes his top off’ scene for Dwayne (what a shame there wasn’t for Xia!), while at one point, he declares, “If you can’t fix it with duct tape, you’re not using enough duct tape!” After seeing what’s shown it makes you wonder – is this film sponsored by the makers of duct tape??
One slight drawback is that the violence in the film is toned down for a 12-certificate, so kids can go and see it, so scenes like that are a bit lame, but then you know you won’t get people trading really heavy blows to the face, for example. Plus, when people are shot, you can forget about blood appearing onscreen.
While certain elements can be very predictable, just go with it and you’ll really enjoy it – it’s certainly not meant to be taken at all seriously. After all, when you see that The Rock can’t access the lift for the crane, you just know he’s going to climb up it, and you can see how crazy-high it is! To that end, if you’re not a big fan of heights, there are genuine moments where it really make you feel like you’re there and you start to worry for those who might fall. You think it won’t happen, but it does!
And a not-really-a-spoiler-when-you-see-this-movie-as-well-as-San Andreas…
However, back to the problem of actually trying to WATCH the film, and two days beforehand, when the new times were released, since I prefer a lunchtime-ish screening, and there were airings at 11am and 12.35pm, I picked the 11am as it was on a much bigger screen, but… this morning, it disappeared from the schedules on their website! Last year, a whole load of times disappeared on opening day for Wonder Woman, and as I was still down to go around lunchtime, I walked down there anyway, as it was only a few minutes from where I was. The 2D projector had broken down, but the screening still went ahead as the 3D one was on, so it was a good job I went down on-spec.
Today, I tried tweeting, and then (because it takes them ages to reply online), I called them up – but… you can’t get through to the actual cinema itself, just the call centre. And at 9am, the 11am was still showing as valid for them, and I was told the website could just be “lagging”.
A bit later, they replied to the tweet and confirmed the 11am was gone, but didn’t know why and just quoted “operational reasons” as a possibility. I asked if they could call the cinema (as they have the number, and they won’t give it out) and was told that they couldn’t get through.
So, I went to the 1.45pm screening, which DIDN’T get cancelled, so that made me think it couldn’t be another projector issue and when I bought my ticket, I asked what happened to the 11am showing.
Well, as the clickbait saying goes, “You won’t believe what she says next! What she does say will shock and surprise me!” and it did…
It was cancelled because they had no advance bookings for it!
No advance bookings! When it costs 75p to book, and there’s no queue, and there’s hardly anyone in there, who books in advance!! That’s for Saturday night on the opening weekend in the IMAX! Not 11am at the Lowry, which has less people in there than the Marie Celeste(!)
Running time: 102 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
Cinema: Vue Lowry, Salford Quays
Format: 2.39:1 (ARRIRAW (2.8K) (3.4K) (6.5K), Dolby Vision, Anamorphic Panavision)
Released: July 12th 2018
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Producers: Beau Flynn, Hiram Garcia, Dwayne Johnson and Mary Parent
Screenplay: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Music: Steve Jablonsky
Will Sawyer: Dwayne Johnson
Sarah Sawyer: Neve Campbell
Ben: Pablo Schreiber
Kores Botha: Roland Møller
Mr. Pierce: Noah Taylor
Xia: Hannah Quinlivan
Georgia Sawyer: McKenna Roberts
Ray: Kevin Rankin
Inspector Wu: Byron Mann
Asian Lady: Beatrice King
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.