After the success of the original Die Hard there came a flood of similarly themed movies. I can imagine the pitch meetings for some of these: Passenger 57…it’s Die Hard on a plane, Under Siege…Die Hard on a boat, Under Siege 2…Die Hard on a train, Sudden Death…Die Hard in a hockey arena! Our movie today actually keeps the high-rise location of Die Hard but has a very different take on the lead character. I imagine its pitch meeting may have included the words, “It’s Die Hard with boobs.” Brace yourselves for Anna Nicole Smith in 1996’s Skyscraper.
Smith plays Carrie Wink, a pilot for a heli-taxi service in Los Angeles. Her hubby Gordon (Richard Steinmetz) is an LAPD detective. Both of their jobs seem to allow them enough flexibility to sneak away and meet up for showering, lovemaking, and arguing about how Carrie wants a baby.
Meanwhile, a criminal called Fairfax (Charles M. Huber), and his team of goons, are raiding various offices stealing the components of some sort of electronic device. What it is and what it does are never really made clear, but it will supposedly “shift the balance of power in the world.” Little does Carrie know that she has been hired to transport the crooks to the location of the final component.
Swiping the last item doesn’t go as smoothly as planned, however. The owner of the component (Eugene Robert Glazer), struggling after being shot by Fairfax, manages to dump the device on, you guessed it, Carrie. She then stashes the item in a janitor’s cart and sets out to stop the bad guys and save the office workers taken hostage. After all, Carrie has experience with guns. We know this from a flashback scene showing us an early date with Gordon where she shows her skill for shooting bottles for about five seconds, and then shows her skill for falling out of her dress for about 5 minutes. Eventually Gordy does show up at the building to help take down the terrorists, but it is Carrie who proves to be the one you don’t want to mess with.
You don’t need me to tell you that Skyscraper is inconceivably bad! It is the most blatant and shameless of the Die Hard rip offs. The script is so awful it will literally kill brain cells. Add to it Anna Nicole Smith’s complete inability to act, and you’ve got unintentional comic gold! There is a famous YouTube video of outtakes from this film showing Anna struggling with the simplest of dialogue. In some sequences of the finished product, we hear her character’s lines coming from off-screen, presumably so they could be read from the page and not done from memory…struggling to make the long neural journey from brain to mouth.
Obviously, a coherent performance from the leading lady didn’t make the list of priorities for the makers of this film. They were more concerned with giving her chances to get her clothes off. Still, I don’t know that there has ever been a bigger case of gratuitous nudity than this movie’s flashback scene. It is supposedly there to explain Carrie’s prowess using guns. Show her shooting some beer bottles…perfect training for shooting terrorists, right? Oh, and while were at it she and Gordy can have sex on a picnic blanket.
One of the most bizarre elements of the film involves a young boy (played by Smith’s own son Daniel) who is in the building while his mother works. He rides around the offices on a Big Wheel like Danny in The Shining. One of the terrorists ends up gunning down his mother from behind; seeing her blonde hair and thinking it’s Anna. Later, Anna hides with the boy under a desk and then, poof, he disappears from the story. That is, until the climax when he is back to riding around the offices, apparently never noticing the corpse of his mother lying on the floor, and arriving just in time to be captured by the baddies for the final standoff. Of course, at the end, we find out mom is really ok. I figured Anna was going to get to adopt the boy, since she wants a baby so bad and “believes in Sunday walks in the park and little babies.”
One can only hope that the makers of Skyscraper realized they had a comedy on their hands. There’s really nothing to indicate that they did. Everyone seems to be playing it hilariously straight. I mean it when I say that this may be one of the worst movies ever made, and it’s incredibly entertaining as a result.