Neve Campbell and Dwayne Johnson in Skyscraper.

I’m all for giving Dwayne Johnson a chance to truly act and emote. I think he can do more than just run around and raise that eyebrow. (In fact, I loved him in Pain and Gain.) So … asking him to be solemn and humorless in a movie about a crazy skyscraper catching fire, Towering Inferno-style, is a huge, massive mistake.

Skyscraper sucks the life out of Johnson as he plays Will, a high-dollar security man who lost a leg in his prior occupation. He takes a job in Hong Kong as head of security in the world’s tallest building. Shortly after getting the gig, an evil crime lord sets the building on fire—although the building is largely unoccupied except for its owner (Chin Han), his entourage, some nasty European criminals and, of course, Will’s wife (Neve Campbell) and children. Will, outside of the building, races to save his family’s life, which leads up to that already-infamous, hilariously silly jump from a crane into the burning building.

Why? Why take a serious approach to this subject matter? Why not have Johnson do his usual shtick and make this more fun? Director Rawson Marshall Thurber certainly knows how to get laughs; he was the man behind Dodgeball and Central Intelligence. Yes, having Johnson doing his usual shtick would’ve been predictable … but it would not have been this boring. Predictable would have been much better.

The special effects are average; the writing is bland; and the execution is lifeless. You have the Rock running around on one leg in a burning building. For God’s sake … let the eyebrow go up! Die Hard came out 30 years ago. It’s OK to steal from it a little bit. A great opportunity for fun here is wasted.

Skyscraper is showing at theaters across the valley, in a variety of formats.