A security expert must infiltrate a burning skyscraper, 225 stories above ground, when his family is trapped inside by criminals.
FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in Hong Kong he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze and he's been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family who are trapped inside the building - above the fire line.
Will Sawyer, former leader of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team and war veteran of the US Army, is now responsible for assessing the safety of the skyscrapers. During a work trip in China, he is incriminated in the fire of the tallest and safest building in the world. Persecuted and on the run, Will must find those who have set the trap, clean his name and rescue his family.
Building security expert Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) is blamed when the tallest, most advanced building in the world, located in Hong Kong, bursts into flames. On the run from the police, the former FBI agent and amputee must infiltrate the inferno to rescue his wife (Neve Campbell) and children trapped inside, clear his name, and find out the truth behind the attack on the skyscraper. Pablo Schreiber, Noah Taylor, Kevin Rankin, Chin Han and Byron Mann co-star. Written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber.
Wealthy Chinese financier and entrepreneur Zhao Long Ji has funded the construction of the world's tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong, standing at 3,500 feet (1,100 m) and 225 stories tall, which they call "The Pearl". Although the building is structurally complete, the construction process has not been without complications and the residential upper half of the building has yet to be opened to the public. U.S. Marine war veteran and retired FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader, Will Sawyer, now assesses security for skyscrapers. A suicide explosion from his last mission has left him one leg amputated below the knee. He is fitted with a modern prosthetic leg, which keeps him fully mobile. Sawyer is tasked with inspecting the Pearl, and his family - wife, Sarah, and twin children, Georgia and Henry, move into the building. Sawyer confirms to Zhao, security directors, Ajani Okeke and Sawyer's friend and fellow ex-FBI agent, Ben Gillespie, and insurance executive Mr. Pierce, that the building's fire and security systems are secure, but he still needs to inspect the off-site security center that controls the system. Zhao then hands Sawyer a tablet computer that gives full administrative access to The Pearl's computer systems, which can only be unlocked by facial recognition..
- Will Sawyer and some soldiers blow up the wall of a house and they go inside. A father puts down his child and then clicks the detonator. Will is badly injured in the explosion. Part of his left leg has to be amputated. He wears a false leg for the rest of the film. He, his wife Sarah, and his two children Henry and Georgia live in an apartment inside The Pearl, the world's tallest skyscraper. It is taller than the Burj Khalifa. Zhao Long Ji is the business entrepreneur behind the construction of the building. Sarah asks Will to fix her phone. Will just turns the phone off and on again. Ben appears out of the elevator. Sarah is taking the children off to see the pandas. Ben has got them tickets to see the overnight feeding of the pandas, when everyone else has gone home. Will rides with Ben up the elevator to meet Zhao. Zhao hired Will to assess the safety and security systems. Will has to inspect the security at the off-site facility. Zhao gives Will a tablet. Only Will's face can access it. Zhao takes Will to a room where mirrors pop up from the floor, mirrors that give reflections at different angles. A reflection of Zhao tells Will "I'm over there."
Will rides on a boat with Ben. When they reach their destination, an agile, acrobatic criminal steals Will's bag. He fires shots up in the air to scare the people around him. In the Sub Basement of The Pearl, a maintenance engineer sees a crack in the wall appearing. The wall breaks off to reveal a hole. Hands reach out and strangle this person to death. The killer removes a gas mask. It's Kores Botha. Ben is bandaging Will's wound. Will put Zhao's tablet in his jacket before they left. Sarah speaks to Will on the phone. They didn't get to see the pandas. Henry ate a weird candy and started throwing up. They've returned to The Pearl. Henry is okay, only no pandas. Ben pulls out a gun. He demands the tablet. A fight breaks out between them. In the struggle, Ben is accidentally shot in the chest with his own gun. A dying Ben tells Will his family were not meant to go back into The Pearl.
Kores and his men sprinkle powder over the floor inside The Pearl. Kores sets off the smoke alarm. When the sprinklers come on, the powder flares up and a fire starts. Will looks out the window and sees a bright orange light coming from The Pearl. People come with machine guns and shoot at Will. Will gets out the window and climbs down a ladder. He has to fall the rest of the way. Xia appears and zaps Will with an electric stun gun. She scans Will's face into the tablet. Police officers arrive and shoot the criminals surrounding Will. The criminal who stole Will's bag is killed in the shootout. Xia gets away. She drives away in a van. She shoots a police officer off his motorcycle. Will gets on the motorcycle and heads towards The Pearl.
Xia and the goons enter the off-site facility and kill the staff already there. With access to the tablet, they disable the anti-fire measures. The sprinklers stop working. The goon gives the building "a six point five billion dollar chimney." The air vents open. Two security men come out of the elevator to take Sarah and the children up to the top floor. Fire is shooting up the elevator shaft. The security man shouts "NO! GET BACK!" Fire explodes out of the elevator. There is a manhunt for Will Sawyer. People are thinking he disabled the anti-fire measures. The goon says "You have full systems control from the tablet. There's no facial recognition needed. All other access points to The Pearl mainframe have been encrypted. The entire building now, it's locked out. I used my own logarithmic base cipher to encrypt it, so I am literally the only human on the planet Earth that can crack this. It's pretty smart right?" Xia shoots him.
Ajani Okeke says "If the fire continues to climb, it will super heat the air around the helipad, making lift off impossible. Our departure window is closing. I hate to say it, but it is now or never." Zhao finally agrees to get the helicopter ready for evacuation. This isn't just a fire. It's a plot. Zhao knows Kores Botha is behind this. He doesn't want Zhao dead, at least not yet. He wants this flash drive.
Will climbs up the side of a crane. He turns the crane round so it faces the building. When the crane reaches its maximum extension, Will swings the hook so it crashes through a window of the building. Will is running along the top of the crane. He jumps, grabs hold of the building and gets inside. The helicopter is at the helipad. Ajani says "Wait. That is not our pilot." Mr Pierce pulls out a gun and kills some people around him. Kores and his men come out from a door with machine guns and gun more people down. Mr Pierce is Kores's associate. Zhao asks why doesn't Kores just shoot him and take the drive. Kores responds "You know I can't do that. The men I work for will kill me if I don't get it back for them. You should've paid me and been done with it. But no. Clever boys like you always think you can be clever. So how's this for clever? I'm going to take you and your drive and your helicopter. And I'm going to make you watch as your building burns to ash, and there's nothing you can do about it." Ajani gets up and shoots the pilot. The dead pilot falls against the controls, causing the helicopter to crash further into the building. Zhao gets up and runs down a flight of stairs. Kores is shooting his machine gun at him. Zhao runs into the penthouse. The doors close before Kores can get to him.
Xia tells Kores she can't open the penthouse doors with the tablet. "Wait. It looks like Will Sawyer's in the building. And I've got a movement alert. It's his family."
Mr Pierce says "You're not going to get in using force. You need someone who knows the system. Sawyer, if anyone can get in, it's him. He's in the building. Just need to find him."
Kores says "We don't need to find him. We know what he wants."
Sarah and the children are crossing the bridge. Mr Pierce appears, pulls out a gun and grabs Sarah. Sarah tells the children to do what he says. Mr Pierce agrees "That's right, listen to your mummy."
Sarah pulls a pair of scissors out of her pocket. She tells the children to run. She stabs the scissors into his leg. She fights with Pierce until he's on the floor. A metal structure falls and smashes the bridge. Burning debris falls, separating Henry and Georgia. Henry tells Georgia to go up to the waterfall. Pierce is back up. He says "I'm not supposed to kill you, but I think your kids will be enough." Will appears and pushes Pierce off the edge of the bridge. A wooden plank is placed across the gap of the bridge. Sarah has to walk across to get Henry while Will holds the bridge steady. Henry is riding on Sarah's back. Sarah has to jump to Will at the last second, before the plank falls down the gap. There is an elevator that operates on electromagnetic induction. When there's a fire, it's held in place by a fail-safe brake. Will cuts the cable. The elevator falls. The magnets kick back on when it passes the fire line. Sarah pulls the handle to engage the braking system. Sarah and Henry get out the building through this way.
Two men appear before Georgia saying "It's okay. We're the good guys." Georgia only listens to her father. She runs off into the waterfall. The two men follow her. Will fights with these two men before meeting Kores Botha. The people are outside the penthouse doors. Will says the only way the doors open is from the inside, or the fire alarm on this floor triggers it, but this can't happen because Kores took the entire system offline. Kores says "Every man has a weakness. It's easy to find. Once you know what he loves, you have it." Zhao loves this building. Will's weakness is his family. "Anything can be done with the proper motivation." Kores says he will throw Georgia off the roof if Will does not bring to him what Zhao is holding behind these doors. They take Georgia with them, leaving Will on the floor.
The subroutine panels that control the doors are behind the turbines. Sarah describes the man she saw in The Pearl. The police bring up images of people. Sarah recognizes the one, Kores Botha. Why would Kores trap himself in the fire? Why would he cut off his only way out? Sarah concludes they're going to jump. One of them had a container with the word "SIRIN" on it. The police look up SIRIN. It's a parachute. Will smashes open a window, climbs along the side of the building and abseils to the turbines. He gets inside the turbines and cuts a wire. The doors open. Will climbs back up to the building and uses his false leg to stop the doors closing again. Once inside the penthouse, Zhao puts a gun to the back of Will's head. Will tells Zhao he is too close. He grabs the hand holding the gun, kicks Zhao in the leg and is on top of him in an instant. Will says they need to talk.
Zhao explains "His name is Kores Botha. He handles extortion for three powerful crime syndicates. When I began construction on The Pearl, Botha came to me. He said if I didn't pay him, he'll cripple my labor force and keep me from ever completing this place." Zhao did pay him "But what he didn't know was that I hid tracking software inside my wire transfer. As Botha laundered my payments through their offshore accounts, I was able to trace every transaction, giving me their bank accounts, their names, their identities. This was my insurance policy. Botha would never be able to extort money from me again. But when the syndicates found out they were compromised, they threatened to destroy Botha if he didn't clean up his mess. If he kills me, the copies I've made will be sent to the authorities. But if he gets his hands on this, the original, he can reverse engineer my tracking software and hide the identities before anyone's the wiser." Kores lit The Pearl on fire knowing Zhao would take the most valuable thing in the world to him and run.
Will says "We're going to give Botha what he came here for."
Zhao says "As soon as he has the drive, he'll kill us both."
"Maybe" says Will. "But he has my daughter. And her life is what matters to me, not mine. I'm taking that drive to the roof. You could either be attached to it or not. It's your choice Zhao." Will asks if he has any duct tape.
Kores, his men and Georgia are on the roof. Will and Zhao appear. Zhao's hands are bound with duct tape. Zhao frees his hands from the duct tape, takes the drive and points his gun at Will. "I can't let you do this." He orders Will to turn around. "I want a parachute. You need me alive. A parachute or you get nothing."
Kores orders one of his men to give him his parachute. "Drop it there."
"Here's what you want?" says Zhao. "Go get it." He tosses the drive across the room. Will shouts at Georgia to run. He pulls a sword out from under his shirt and slashes the man in front of him. Zhao shoots at the criminals. The mirrors pop up. The criminals have a hard time distinguishing the real people from the reflected images. They end up shooting the glass in the mirrors. Zhao shoots a goon. Will fights another goon, throwing him to the floor. Will fights a goon, hitting him against a mirror. The other goon grabs Will and they are both lying down on the floor. Will opens the man's parachute, dragging them across the floor. Will grabs onto a metal rod. The goon's parachute pulls him off the roof. Will finds the drive. A goon is about to shoot Will. This goon is shot by Zhao instead.
Sarah is inside a police car. She sees Xia about to shoot a police officer. She opens the car door, slamming it into Xia. In the struggle with Xia, Sarah beeps the car's horn, alerting the police. Xia has a strap around Sarah's neck, strangling her. A police officer appears pointing a gun at Xia. Sarah kicks Xia, knocking her out. She picks up the tablet Xia left on the seat.
Will orders Kores to turn around. Kores has Georgia. He says if he gets shot, he will drop this grenade and the girl. He orders Will to toss him the drive. Will says before he does so, there is something Kores should know. Kores is looking at a reflection of Will. He is actually behind him. Will kicks Kores over the edge and grabs Georgia. The grenade explodes, ending Kores's life before he can fall all the way down. Sarah uses the tablet. She reboots the control system for the entire building. She turns it off and on again. The anti-fire measures come back online. The sprinklers start working again and the fire is extinguished. A helicopter arrives. Will, Georgia and Zhao get inside. Will gives Zhao the drive. Zhao says he will rebuild.