The film is light on zingers and heavy on ersatz emotionality, primarily expressed through a Taken-ish ‘Daddy’s gotta save his little girl’ intensity once Johnson’s small-time security whizz is back in the terrorist-flamed super-building of the title, via that ludicrous, trailer-heralded crane jump. The closest the script comes to self-awareness is a moment when Johnson prepares to climb the tower’s smooth glass exterior with duct tape wrapped around his mitts and shoe tips, and says to himself, “This is stupid”.
We’re supposed to buy Johnson as a damaged everyman – a past mishap cost Sawyer a leg as well as his in-the-field self-confidence – yet we also have to swallow CG-reliant set-pieces that imbue him with superhuman capabilities, as well as a nonsensical, overegged plot which boils down to a tiff over a memory stick. For all his charm, Johnson just can’t pull it off, though it’s not like Thurber bothered to craft him any helpful character-building breathers; it’s just a kick-bollock scramble from action sequence to action sequence.
Neve Campbell is a welcome presence as his wife Sarah, but aside from a few token scraps (she’s an ex-combat medic) is given little to do but follow her husband’s hurried instructions and argue with the local cops. And there’s no worthy nemesis on show, either; Danish actor Roland Møller merely stalks around like a surly alpha-henchman in desperate need of a boss.