29th Jun2018

‘Inferno: Skyscraper Escape’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Claire Forlani, Jamie Bamber, Riley Jackson, Isaac Rouse, Nigel Barber, Atanas Srebrev, Nathan Cooper, Lorina Kamburova, Delly Allen, J.R. Esposito | Written by Regina Luvitt, Phillip J. Roth | Directed by Eric Summer

Inferno-Skyscraper-Escape-Key-Art

Disaster strikes a downtown skyscraper when a gas leak causes a ferocious explosion setting ablaze the towering mass of metal and glass. On the 60th floor Brianna (Forlani) and Tom (Bamber) a couple in the middle of a divorce settlement are forced to work together to help save their two children, Anne and Ben, who are both trapped in the building’s elevator hovering 20 stories above ground. Together Brianna and Tom must fight to stay alive while teaming up to save their children and escape the towering inferno.

Hmmmm, Inferno: Skyscraper Escape? Sounds very much like a product of The Asylum, timed to cash in on THAT other big-budget Skyscraper movie (you know the one, with The Rock and a physically impossible feat on the poster) releasing in July. It’s not though. Instead it’s the work of writer/producer Philip Roth, a name many movie-watchers may not recognise but who – in the heady days of 90s DTV cinema – directed films like A.P.E.X., Digital Man and Interceptor Force that were revered in the pages of magazine like Impact (and in my house too) and has, in the intervening years, produced a number of direct to DVD movies, including a ton of monster movies as well as sequels to Wrong Turn, Sniper and Jarhead… He’s also not adverse to the odd cash-in: he’s named as producer on Taken: The Search for Sophie Parker and Crystal Skulls, both riffs on Hollywood blockbusters (and you’ll know which, without me having to tell you right?!?)

However the blame cannot be put entirely at the feet of the filmmakers, Inferno: Skyscraper Escape actually debuted under the title Crystal Inferno across Europe, no doubt referencing skyscrapers like The Shard in London rather than the forthcoming Dwayne Johnson action flick. It’s only with the film selling at Cannes and the production of new artwork etc. that this Towering Inferno-esque movie has been made to appear similar to The Rock’s Skyscraper. Which isn’t really fair to the duo of Bamber and Forlani, who could NEVER hope to compete with the ever-popular former wrestler turned action hero. Though to be fair to Claire Forlani, she does some Rock-level ridiculous stunts in this film!

Speaking of Forlani, she’s the real star of the show here with the filmmakers reversing the usual action-movie roles and in a surprising, but most welcome, turn of events making Jamie Bamber the “damsel in distress” of this particular tale. Though it does appear that the film entire budget was blown on hiring the two named stars, as the rest of the cast is filled with unknowns and bit-part players. And there’s some, frankly, awful performances from said supporting cast – in particular the firefighters on the scene, most of whom I wouldn’t trust to get my cat out of a tree let alone rescue me from a burning building!

If you like your action movies with a slice of TV-movie cheese (or are a fan of The Asylum’s output) then there’s actually some fun to be had with Inferno: Skyscraper Escape. And the sheer ridiculousness of some of the stunts and story beats means that even the most jaded DTV afficionado will find themselves having fun – even if it is at this films expense!

Inferno: Skyscraper Escape is released on DVD on July 2nd in the UK, courtesy of Spirit Entertainment; and premieres on VOD across the US on July 3rdfrom High Octane Pictures.

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