Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Skyscraper gets the grainy, faux-retro trailer it deserves

Skyscraper, this weekend’s new excuse to watch Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson swat bad guys around like an angry, veiny bear, looks like it belongs to another era. A super thin plot about a former FBI agent turned security guard protecting Hong Kong’s highest skyscraper from dastardly terrorists screams direct-to-VHS movie. It also does very little to disabuse anyone of the notion that it’s really just a bigger, taller, Bruno-free remake of 1988's Die Hard.


In acknowledgement of these facts, The Nerdist has messed around with Skyscraper’s trailer, recutting it to resemble a teaser for the early ‘90s action movie it pretty much already is in every way possible (except for the CGI explosions).

The clip does a good job of capturing the spirit of decades past. A deep-voiced narrator savors every line of the vintage, pun-laden storyline recap (“his new job is one tall order;” “crime is on the high-rise”), warbly tracking lines flicker across the screen, and the entire clip is washed out and grainy just like the trailers playing during the preview part of a Jean-Claude Van Damme tape that’s been rented out hundreds of times already. There’s also the requisite synth soundtrack and glowing, neon title cards, which are meant to be retro, of course, but really just make Skyscraper seem like it’s secretly an A24 production.

It’s all good fun and a reminder of how action stars like The Rock flatten time beneath their bulging, muscle-laden weight. The Nerdist’s remix calls to mind the era of Stallone and Schwarzenegger, Lundgren and Seagal as if it’s something long gone. Looking at Skyscraper, though, and seeing the kind of movies The Rock stars in these days ... well, the ‘80s and ‘90s have returned in more than just fashion trends.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.