For obvious reasons ...
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lot of gratuitous nudity & violence... Obligatory shower scenes & more.... Bottomline - Cheesy funfest!"
An Unholy Duo
Robert I. Hedges | 02/26/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD package is extremely basic and has no extras, but believe me when I tell you that there is plenty of suffering on this single disc.
"Skyscraper" stars Anna Nicole Smith as Carrie Wisk, a helicopter pilot for "Heliscort," an air taxi service in Los Angeles. She is married to an LA cop and finds herself in the midst of a confusing plot complete with government conspiracy, terrorist ninjas, gun battles, a top secret briefcase in a dumpster, and an obligatory shower scene. The script is largely incoherent, but it's better than the acting. Her accent is beyond tolerable, and her countenance does not exactly lend plausibility to her casting as a pilot of one of the most notoriously difficult to fly machines on earth.
After a subplot about wanting to have a baby and her husband's fear of flying (apparently her boss just lets her take the helicopter home and use it for errands), her hubby, Gordon (Richard Steinmetz) gets dropped off at terrorist central, where he promptly asks one of the bad guys to cuff himself (I guess police procedures are a bit more laid back in LA). While Carrie whisks the bad guys from terror site to terror site obliviously, Dudley (Gary Imhoff), the worst security guard ever, realizes that a huge skyscraper is being taken over by terrorists and its occupants are hostages. The next half hour or so features lots of extremely bad accents, ridiculous stereotypes, and plotpoints that lead nowhere. Suddenly the least likeable character in the movie enters the distasteful melange on a Big Wheel. Who could it be? Why it's Billy Ray, played by Daniel Wayne Smith (who has a cameo in "To The Limit" as an altar boy as well), Anna's late son and obvious kidnapping fodder, who is the only one able to escape the vicious terrorists while riding around the building going "vroom." Seriously. In real life both Anna and Daniel had tragic lives; in this film you will have no difficulty sensing their special relationship, as acting talent is evidently largely inherited.
Of course Gordon is the police officer assigned to the case, and after a disgusting flashback establishing that Carrie excels at marksmanship (Caution: the love theme from "Skyscraper" is far more odious than anything ever recorded by "Berlin"), Dudley and Carrie team up to retake the building. Dudley explains that the "Emergency Containment System" is activated, rendering the building incapable of letting anyone in or out, in violation of every building code on the planet. Despite this revelation (and lots of fretting from the building's architect, which pads the film immensely), the next shot is a cop walking in an open door.
Since everyone is sealed in the building, Carrie calls on her vast intellect and sets the building on fire, and agrees to give herself over to the terrorists. (Seriously.) This is when I learned two very interesting things: first, in LA a hook and ladder truck responds to a trashcan fire; and second, an abundance of Shakespearean quotes in a terrible movie only exacerbate the awfulness of the film, they do not raise the standard of dialogue. The terrorists don't seem to grasp that shooting the hook and ladder truck with a Rocket Propelled Grenade will attract police scrutiny, and reinforcements arrive in record numbers. Carrie and Gordon rendezvous in the basement, and it's Carrie who goes to rescue the hostages, not the trained police officer. You just know that the terrorists will eventually use hapless Billy Ray as leverage, drawing Carrie into a karate death match on the roof, and you would be right. I won't tell you how it ends, but I'm pretty certain you can guess (like you actually needed to watch this thing to know).
This movie is relentlessly cheap: in actuality only one helicopter appears onscreen playing all airborne roles (check the registration and very temporary "Police" decals if you don't believe me), and except for the scenes in Carrie's house (complete with Marilyn Monroe print) and the helicopter scenes, it's pretty much shot in an office tower, making the budget lower than low. If you are after a bad movie, this definitely fits the bill, but it's not remotely entertaining, even for camp value. Smith appears out of shape and not especially alert, and her acting (while not the worst in the film) is not so much funny as sad. This is a long, tough slog and I can't recommend it for any reason: even if you goal was to see Anna and her ample assets, this film is beyond the threshold of pain.
After viewing "Skyscraper," I assumed that it had to be the worst Anna Nicole Smith movie ever made, but "To The Limit" is a strong contender in every way. In this one Anna plays Colette, a CIA agent who loses her shady art-dealer husband to a mysterious explosion while simultaneously across town mobsters Frank DaVinci (Joey Travolta) and Lupe are getting married. After seeing some hilarious composite footage of a helicopter being shot down by a sociopath, numerous ninjas dressed in black with ski masks and machine guns invade the DaVinci wedding, which quickly devolves into a shooting gallery. Lupe is killed, but Frank rallies back to life while we meet the crooked crew. They all have names like Joey and Philly Bambino, and really needed a dialogue coach or a trip to Italy to master their accents. Since this makes so much sense so far, the first curve ball (yawn) involves Frank being an agent during the Vietnam war when he was sent to Hanoi to assassinate General Tang. ("You remember that last black ops we had in Hanoi?") Ignoring the ludicrous impossibilities of that as a premise, it serves to tie the whole movie together in a way I can only guess at, while padding the running time immensely.
Colette invades Las Vegas and immediately has a shootout, steals a police car, and runs it into a helicopter (don't ask), defeating ninjas and local law enforcement officials alike. Despite numerous plot detours (the petulant runaway teenage girl, a killer nurse, the worst Las Vegas review in history, Philly Bambino's serial infidelity, Colette taking a shower, etc.) the main characters finally rendezvous in Frank's hotel room. There Colette reveals that she is a CIA operative (yeah, that's plausible), but while she says "I was proud to work for my company" (groan), she fell for a mobster, and went rogue. At least that's what I think was going on: between her diction and an incoherent script, it's a bit hard to tell what's happening with any degree of precision. She says she's been hiding out "up in the mountains" and that a CIA boss named Arthur Jameson (creepy, tattooed Jack Bannon) is the man who killed Lupe and tried to kill Frank. The raw emotion she displays when this is revealed must be seen to be believed!
This whole thing boils down to a CD-ROM that Jameson wants, as it contains information that can indict him, and which a mysterious man named China (Michael Nouri) furnishes to Frank, getting blown up in the process (don't miss the riveting monologue about playing gin rummy with Jimmy Hoffa). China advises Frank to go to the FBI, because they hate the CIA more than they hate organized crime, and with that established Colette has to jump back in the shower. Of course Frank and Colette fall for each other in a truly loathsome display. Travolta, the old goat, doublecrosses Colette and takes the disc in the middle of the night, and Colette calls Jameson in a fit of pique. After Philly Bambino gets a well-deserved Thai gasoline massage (I am not joking), a showdown is arranged between the CIA and the mob. Question: why does nobody think to burn a copy of the CD? Wouldn't that make it less worth dying for?
There is a plot twist at the end that is not totally unsurprising, so for that it gets originality points over "Skyscraper," but it's just a ruse to initiate more gunplay. Just when you suspected the film could get no stupider, you will be proven wrong in a massive way: there's a hostage exchange to perform on the Hoover Dam! The swap is simple: the CD for a mobster. (Again, people, burn a copy of the CD! Hello?) The scene which follows is entirely responsible for my two star rating of this DVD set, as in most other ways "To The Limit" is inferior to even "Skyscraper." The scene that sealed the deal for me was the hostage exchange, specifically, when Frank hands Colette the CD and she hurls it like a throwing star, embedding it deep in Jameson's skull, causing him to fall over Hoover Dam to his death. That is a priceless moment of cinematic cheese, and my only regret is that to get to it you have to suffer through 89 minutes of truly lamentable filmmaking first."