Vertical Limit

Review Date:
Director: Martin Campbell
Writer: Robert King, Terry Hayes
Producers: Martin Campbell, Robert King, Marcia Nasatir
Chris O’Donnell
Robin Tunney
Bill Paxton
A brother/sister tandem love climbing mountains. When sis gets caught in an avalanche with a rich billionaire and their leader, it’s up to the little brother and a motley crew of others, to try and save them in time. Will they get to them before it’s too late? Tis the story of the film.
I would suggest renting CLIFFHANGER again if you had the choice, because money shots alone do not a great movie make. This film’s got a few really exhilarating scenes lost within an unimpressive, lagging story which seems to take forever to get going, only to surprise you with very little, once it does. It also should have been cut by at least 30 minutes of “filler”. And it’s too bad because the movie actually starts off with a bang, launching you right into the intensity of the whole mountain climbing vibe (despite a horrible blue screen effect), until the cylinders drop out and the film rests in second gear for quite some time after that. We already know that they’re gonna be trapped on a mountain, so please don’t waste too much of our time with your half-assed character development till they get there. In that sense, this film reminded me a lot of THE PERFECT STORM (slow first half, action in second half). Of course, once they do make it up the mountain, there are many very cool sequences, most of which feature folks dangling from hooks off the sides of cliffs and things blowing up. And note that if you’re afraid of heights, this movie is sure to intensify that fear.

But much unlike CLIFFHANGER, this film doesn’t really have much going for it in terms of story, since it’s basically just a “search and rescue” operation. The director seemed to want us to know a little bit about everyone involved, and in the end, we end up knowing very little about any of them, other than the basic two-dimensional info. There were also way too many of those typical “movie moments” in which one or two of the characters coincidentally get to relive something which they screwed up on earlier in their life. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not they actually succeed the second time around. Some of the film is also quite far-fetched, with the numero uno award going out to the genius who thought that packing nitro on all of the rescuers…was a good idea! The actors are also pretty static. There ain’t much that one could say about Chris O’Donnell. He’s there, he’s good looking and he looks like he smells pretty. Tunney was pretty good in her role, and for once, decided not to show us her boobs. Which was nice. But in the end, anyone going to see this movie is going for the “money shots” from the trailer. You want to see people sliding down sides of mountains and barely hanging off the edge. You want to see O’Donnell attempt to jump from one side of a mountain to another. These scenes are there and the intensity is also there for those scenes…but it’s just unfortunate that the film just runs on for too long, and too little a story and underdeveloped characters leave you wishing for more. See it for the cool action scenes, and call it a night.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

Vertical Limit



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