Awfully Good: Skyscraper with Anna Nicole Smith

Sure, Dwayne Johnson's SKYSCRAPER may have a bigger budget, but it's definitely missing two other big ingredients…

Skyscraper (1996)

Director: Raymond Martino
Stars: Anna Nicole Smith, Richard Steinmetz, Charles M. Huber

DIE HARD but with Playboy's 1993 Playmate of the Year instead of stupid Bruce Willis.

SKYSCRAPER is the definition of dumb fun. The script, the acting, the action—it's all so terrible it borders on enjoyable. It may be a poor excuse for a movie, but it's also a great excuse to get drunk and have a good time.

Let's start off with what should be most obvious: the film stars former Playboy Playmate and romancer of the elderly Anna Nicole Smith. The late model…well, let's just say she wasn't exactly known for her skills as an actress or action star. And SKYSCRAPER doesn't seem to be ashamed of this. Just look at the DVD cover below, which includes "critic" quotes straight up bragging about the fact that its leading lady is naked in the movie. If "Bra busting!" is the best accolade your film can muster, um, you have my attention.

So it may not be a surprise that SKYSCRAPER shoehorns in an amusing amount of unnecessary nudity and sex that has nothing to do with the rest of the story. We first meet Anna Nicole Smith's character Carrie as she's flying a helicopter…which is then immediately followed by multiple minutes of her taking a shower, and then an equally long sex scene. (All before she has any real dialogue.) And you'd think that once she gets trapped inside the titular building and separated from her boyfriend, they wouldn't be able to fit in anymore gratuitous nakedness. Nope! In the middle of being chased by terrorists, Carrie has a random flashback to yet another prolonged sex scene, which for some reason takes place outside of a working farm. Pretty much if there's any possible way Anna Nicole Smith can get her top off, or at least run around in a bouncy tank top, SKYSCRAPER will find a way. (That includes a very uncomfortable and completely unnecessary rape scene in the last act.)

That's the first and last time someone said that sentence to Anna Nicole Smith during production.

If you care about things like "plot" and "story," SKYSCRAPER truly is yet another DIE HARD ripoff, down to the generic European bad guys and the reluctant cop sidekick. Smith laughably takes on the John McClane role, playing the world's most talented helicopter pilot who unwittingly is hired to fly a group of terrorists around Los Angeles as they collect pieces of a MacGuffin device that can "shift the balance of power in the world." When she accidentally gets trapped in a high tech building with the criminals and their hostages, Smith must take them down one by one. Don't ask me how a random busty helicopter pilot is an expert fighter and gunslinger who's able to fight highly trained terrorists, one of whom is British Special Forces. The film doesn't bother to answer that question (presumably because it has too many important sex scenes to get through).

Anna took her role in THE NAKED GUN a little too literally.

There's really not much more to go on than that. Anna Nicole Smith is already an absolutely dreadful actress, but the script still saddles her with complicated pilot lingo and lines like, "Well, excuse me for still believing in Sunday walks in the park, and little babies!" So you can imagine what her performance is like in this movie. And that's not to say that a more talented thespian could do a better job with this script. There's just so many weird side tangents and characters that are truly bizarre, like the detective's partner who is only given the below monologue before being killed off:

I cannot lie. I was humping my goat. So, the D.A. says, "But there's more to the story, isn't there, Farmer Brown?" So Farmer Brown says, "After I finished humping my goat, the goat turned around and licked my balls." At which point, the judge turned to Farmer Brown and said, "Hey, a good goat will do that."

They don’t make henchmen like they used to.

The screenplay is also so packed with clichés it's almost brilliant. There's a villain who speaks almost entirely in Shakespeare quotes. One of the characters is female so she must be obsessed with having a baby. The janitor is black so obviously he's a Rastafarian. And the random hodgepodge of terrorist henchman feels like they were dreamed up by a middle schooler on Adderall. "Wouldn't it be cool if one of the terrorists was a woman dressed in leather like THE MATRIX? And one was a French guy with long white hair? And another was a German stoner? And one was Fabio in a leather vest and no shirt?!" By the time you see them all together onscreen, it's like you're watching the bad guy version of the Village People.

And in case you're wondering the action in this movie is just as bad as the writing. None of the aforementioned terrorists are competent fighters, nor do they look comfortable with any kind of weapon. Most of the excitement in this movie comes from either obvious stunt people falling off of buildings or gunfights where the shooters are standing just feet away from each other but still continually miss.

Amazingly enough, this actor went on to be a politician and was elected to the German parliament in 2013. Truly an Awfully Good legend.

However, there is one clear VIP amongst this softcore mess. Charles M. Huber, who plays the head villain Fairfax, deserves a Lifetime Achievement Razzie for this role alone. He delivers every terrible line (and Shakespeare quote) with such zealous glee and overacts even the most simple action. I can’t even begin to describe how unpredictably bad his performance is. You'll just have to watch both videos below to see for yourself.

The best of the Shakespeare-spouting villain, Anna Nicole Smith's awful acting, and so much more.

A sampling of the most hilarious action scenes, which are mostly just really, really crappy gunfights.


Don't have Cinemax? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • Anna Nicole Smith's acting is unconvincing
  • Anna Nicole Smith mentions a baby
  • The bad guy quotes Shakespeare
  • The bad guy says, "Ciao"
  • Someone fires a rocket launcher
Double shot if:
  • Someone falls a long way

Thanks to Franklin for suggesting this week's movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: JoBlo.com



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