Superb actioner from Sly and the gang. Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone) is an expert climber, but after a tragic incident leaves a girl dead, he leaves the mountains to get his head together. After his self imposed break he returns in the hope of rekindling a relationship with Jessie (Janine Turner). Whilst at the rescue centre he is called to help a group who are stranded in the mountains, he agrees to help out this one last time, unaware that the group in the mountains are heavily armed murderous thieves and they need help of another kind... Directed by Renny Harlin, this is one of those films that shows that Stallone once had box office clout as big as his bodily frame. It's a delightful no brain action film that delivers royally to those with a bent for the action genre. What really lifts Clifhanger above average is the wonderful use of suspenseful situations. The film opens with a quite breath taking sequence and then kicks on to literally have us hanging on by our fingernails. The bad guys are deliciously over the top, none more so than the bullishly nasty John Lithgow as Eric Qualen, whilst Sly gets beefcake support from the ever reliable Michael Rooker. Cinematography by Alex Thomson is gorgeous as he brings to life the Cortina d'Ampezzo area of the Dolomites in Italy. Score is by Trevor Jones, who keeps it orchestral as he lifts from his own work for Last of the Mohicans, which in turn is mixed with what sounds like the lead theme of Alan Silvestri's work on Predator. Slam bang action, tense fraught moments, and a script written with knowing tongue in cheek persuasion, Cliffhanger literally does ROCK. 7.5/10
When a rescue atop a mountain goes wrong, a girl is killed and her boyfriend "Tucker" (Michael Rooker) blames his partner "Walker" (Sylvester Stallone) for the tragedy. A year goes by and the two must reunite to find any survivors from an high altitude plane crash. What they don't know is that plane carried "Qualen" (John Lithgow) and his associates who have just carried out a daring mid-air robbery and they are now looking for their $30m in the snowy wilderness. Apprehending their would be saviours, the gang use tracking technology to hunt their missing suitcases, but of course we just know things are not going to go smoothly. This has the scenario to be exciting: the cold and rather beautiful wintry scenery sets a scene nicely but the acting is very poor. Lithgow is hopeless, no other word for it, and Stallone just goes through the motions as the tortured soul trying to reconcile with ex girlfriend "Jessie" (Janine Turner), his friend and his conscience. Rex Linn's "Travers" - a duplicitous FBI man is no better and after about half an hour you are certain just what is going to happen - it's now all about pyrotechnics, helicopters and avalanches. It was nice to see "Pa Walton" (Ralph Waite) on screen again but Craig Fairbrass? No, sorry. This is just well photographed mush up a mountain.
**Action with some humor and a dose of exaggeration.** The best thing about an action movie is that it's usually easy entertainment and doesn't make you think too much. The film that brings me here today is reasonably enjoyable for that reason, and for being honest in what it does, that is, it is not one of those films that deceives the public by saying it is one thing and being another. The film is exactly what it says it is, and delivers what it promises. The script isn't particularly smart, and the story has enough improbable points to make us really doubt it. However, it serves the purposes of the film perfectly, even having some moments of humor. The film is far from being good, but it has a cast of good actors: Sylvester Stallone is good at acting, but he was never good at playing characters, and that doesn't change in this film. Even so, he's good enough to handle the role and have the lead. John Lithgow also does a satisfying job, but the rest of the cast is average. The villains are… likable, to be honest. Technically, the film takes advantage of the generous budget for very good and well-executed action scenes, with great physical demand from the stuntmen and great commitment from the special effects, visual and sound sectors. There's an exaggeration that makes everything feel sensational, kitschy and a little silly, and the dialogues are absolute clichés, but they add fun and some more witty moments to the film. Of course, there's plenty of pyrotechnics, judging by the amount of stuff that gets blown up.
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