Sky High is in such a hurry to deliver chases, gaudily-lit party scenes, crosses, and double-crosses that it completely forgets to slow down and make us care about any of it.
This review of Sky High is spoiler-free.
Sky High runs for two hours, and there’s a lot of movie crammed into that time. As soon as the pedal hits the metal the pace is breakneck from then on, whizzing through heists, arguments, fights, flirting, lovemaking, and testy conversations both on the phone and face-to-face. There’s barely time for a plot, and certainly none for character development, leaving the whole thing running on fumes by the time it eventually catches back up to the attention-grabbing opening scene.
The protagonist here is Ángel (Miguel Herrán), an ambitious mechanic who becomes a robber in, like, two scenes, motivated by his love — or is it lust? — for Estrella (Carolina Yuste), the trophy girlfriend of small-time criminal Poli (Richard Holmes). The speed with which Ángel falls in with Poli and his goons is unintentionally hilarious and speaks to the film’s complete lack of awareness for developing motivations and stakes. Ángel makes several bizarre decisions from that point on, and I must confess that at no point did I ever get a sense of what he was hoping to actually achieve beyond making it “to the top”. But the top of what? And what’s the view like from up there?
Sky High is ostensibly a love story, but it has a funny idea of love. Ángel is borderline obsessed with Estrella, but for long stretches of the film he seems to forget all about her, and later another love interest, Sole (Asia Ortega), turns up completely without warning. Ángel is similarly indecisive about his friends and business partners, from Poli and his gang to their boss, Rogelio (Luis Tosar), and everyone’s corrupt lawyer, Mercedes (Patricia Vico). None of this coheres into an actual plot, really, remaining a collection of scenes that are vaguely related to one another but lack basic storytelling fundamentals.
A couple of the chase and heist sequences in the film are well shot — all the clarity lacking from the plot is present here. But the film’s editing leaves the passage of time a mystery; no moments have any room to breathe or develop, including a stint in prison, and what is presumably a deliberate stylistic choice to focus on the moments before and after the robberies rather than the robberies themselves feels almost accidental in the resultant jumble. Some okay performances and individual scenes help to earn Sky High some goodwill, but it’s very difficult to recommend beyond that.