Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber
Written by Rawson Marshall Thurber
Many people will call this film a Die Hard wanna be. In actuality the comparisons are few, but the film suffers from many storyline issues and relies so heavily on Dwayne Johnson’s charisma and screen presence to carry this film. In their attempt to give Dwayne’s portrayal of Will Sawyer with some questions to his abilities to carry action with his amputated leg from an operation that went bad, just falls flat literally and figuratively.
Here comes the spoilers.
In Hong Kong, a super-rich Asian entrepreneur named Zhao Long Ji has built the world’s tallest Skyscraper called the Pearl. He hires Will Sawyer upon recommendation from Will’s friend and fellow ex-FBI agent Ben who recommended Will for the job to run a security assessment of the building before they open it to residential clients. Will has his wife and two kids out at the Pearl with him and they are enjoying this work trip of their dad’s. Terrorists led by a man named Kores Botha, set the building on fire and plan to draw out Zhao to get something he has secured in his building. It comes to light they already extorted money from Zhao but he traced all transactions discovering the various crime syndicates members who finance Botha. Zhao intended this list of names and transactions to be his insurance policy against future extortion attempts, but now they know about the memory stick so they are here to take it from him. With Will’s family coming back early form a zoo outing that was planned by Ben, this throws a wrench into his plans to have them not be hurt by the terrorist’s plans. Ben reveals to Will his involvement with Botha and that the building is going to be set on fire. Will defends himself from Ben and then gets intercepted by police and the terror groups henchmen who take the tablet from Will. Will escapes and heads towards the tower on fire. Will is posted by police who believe he is connected to this fire and attack on the police. Instead of allowing himself to be captured he flees to a building under construction next to the burning one to utilize the crane to get to the burning building so he can help rescue his family.
Now the film showcases action scenes where his amputated leg comes into play frequently. Yet he cannot always be this lucky or pull off every feat with success. What this film lacked was a side kick. I would have written into the plot the man who pickpocketed Will off the ferry would come back into the building. He would be played by an up and rising Asian action star to cater to the huge Chinese film market and give Will another character to play off of in fight scenes. He could also assist Will in overcoming the odds to taking on the building and terrorists. It would later be revealed he is a younger brother to Zhao who they had a falling out years ago and he was only working for Botha at first to get back at his brother, but when he saw they intended to burn his brother’s life work in the building he had a change of heart. This character would give a layer of emotion the film needed beyond Will, his wife, and two crying kids. Have Will fall down, make mistakes, and just not be able to fully save his family just on his own and let that frustrate him and make him feel defeated. That is complexity to explore for Will’s character. A man who built up his body to be so strong and dependable, but yet the injury and handicap affect him not just as a character but also in his abilities to fully take on the feats he does. Not to downplay the handicap, but rather show the difficultly anyone would experience in trying to do what he does. Just not believable in my opinion, and you need some grounding in reality to raise tension in the challenges faced in this film.
I would like to have seen more Asian actors in the film period. Especially for the terrorists as they are in Hong Kong. The secondary terrorist team checked the box, but the primary team in the building where not Asians. This would help the film feel more authentic. In closing this film could easily be better by wirting in another character and expanding upon the handicap more. As the film stands the handicap is a poor plot device that never is fully utilized.
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