As a fan of both learning about East Asia and watching terrible action movies, I decided to review the 2018 Dwayne Johnson escape-a-burning-building movie, “Skyscraper.” We had discussed this film in terms of both Chinese soft power and the growing importance of and influence of the Chinese film industry in general.
While the movie could in theory be set in any high-tech location (and largely filmed in Vancouver), it takes place in Hong Kong. The city is presented as slick and technologically advanced, and it’s noteworthy that the primary villains are non-Asian actors. With a positive portrayal of China and access to the Chinese film market, it briefly became a #1 box office hit there – somewhat balancing out the disappointing US performance of the film.
Although the film isn’t “good” per se (though it’s cheesy and fun), it highlights many of the dynamics of the relationship between Hollywood and China. It provides a recognizable face for the students in terms of learning about these changes, though the even-cheesier “The Meg” may be a better choice.