5.0 out of 5 stars CLIFFHANGER [20th Anniversary Edition – Uncut]  [Limited Edition SteelBook] [Blu-ray] [German Import]
CLIFFHANGER [20th Anniversary Edition – Uncut]  [Limited Edition SteelBook] [Blu-ray] [German Import] ‘Cliffhanger’ is a 1993 American action adventure film directed by Renny Harlin and starring Sylvester Stallone and John Lithgow. Sylvester Stallone, who co-wrote the screenplay, plays a mountain climber who becomes embroiled in a failed heist set...
Published 2 months ago by Andrew C. Miller
3.0 out of 5 stars A Guilty Pleasure
Since I am writing this review, I am also publicly confessing to having spent two hours watching Cliffhanger. After this, nothing I suffer in life can be a humiliation.
This movie received four Razzie nominations: Worst picture of the year, worst screenplay (Sylvester Stallone), worst supporting actress (Janine Turner) and worst supporting actor (John Lithgow). There...
Published on March 6 2004 by Nicholas Stix
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5.0 out of 5 stars CLIFFHANGER [20th Anniversary Edition – Uncut]  [Limited Edition SteelBook] [Blu-ray] [German Import],
This review is from: Cliffhanger [Blu-ray] [Import anglais] (Blu-ray)
CLIFFHANGER [20th Anniversary Edition – Uncut]  [Limited Edition SteelBook] [Blu-ray] [German Import] ‘Cliffhanger’ is a 1993 American action adventure film directed by Renny Harlin and starring Sylvester Stallone and John Lithgow. Sylvester Stallone, who co-wrote the screenplay, plays a mountain climber who becomes embroiled in a failed heist set in a U.S. Treasury plane flying through the Rocky Mountains. With the woman he loves and his best friend, Gabe Walker [Sylvester Stallone] braves the icy peaks only to discover that the distress call is really a trap set by merciless international terrorist Eric Qualen [John Lithgow]. Now millions of dollars and their own lives hang in the balance. Against explosive firepower, bitter cold, and dizzying heights, Gabe Walker must outwit Eric Qualen in a deadly game of hide-and-seek.
Actors: Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Michael Rooker, Janine Turner, Rex Linn, Caroline Goodall, Leon Robinson, Craig Fairbrass, Gregory Scott Cummins, Denis Forest, Michelle Joyner, Max Perlich, Paul Winfield, Ralph Waite, Max Perlich, Trey Brownell, Vyto Ruginis, John Finn, Bruce McGill, Jeff McCarthy and Wolfgang Güllich (stunt double)
Director: Renny Harlin
Producer: Alan Marshall and Renny Harlin
Screenplay: Michael France and Sylvester Stallone
Composer: Trevor Jones
Cinematography: Alex Thomson
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and German: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: German and German SDH
Running Time: 113 Minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review – ‘Cliffhanger’ is Sylvester Stallone and anybody alive in the 1980’s remembers that bold billing of the star who basically singlehandedly started the great action craze of the decade. Sly Stallone is that star; with pictures like the Rocky sequels, the Rambo’s and offbeat films like ‘Nighthawks’ and ‘Lock Up’, Sylvester Stallone confirmed that action hero image and was on the top of the game. With hit after hit, he became a larger than life figure, who could not only act when the situation called for it, but could also put out countless dumbed-downed action flicks that so many of us still crave. So here we are, in the early 1990’s. Stallone has convincible wrapped up his career launching franchises, and is looking for something different. The question is; how is ‘Cliffhanger’ different? It’s probably not. ‘Copland’ was more of a return to form, but one thing is clear about ‘Cliffhanger’; it has a hell of a lot more snow than anything we’ve seen from him before.
A gang of terrorists plan to hijack a plane carrying $100 million dollars in uncirculated US Department of Treasury notes. With no real easy way to pull off such an intricate plot against the government, a daring mid-air exchange between a freight carrier and a small plane is ultimately necessary to transfer the loot. The heist is to be executed in collaboration between a traitorous CIA agent Travers [Rex Linn] and the fearless gang, run by a crazed lunatic named Eric Qualen [John Lithgow]. Travers has turned sides and there is no going back, so it’s basically carry out the plot flawlessly or die in shame. In doing so, he must kill everyone on board, even his fellow agents. One thing neither accounted for is a sloppy exchange that left one agent alive enough to shoot. So during the transfer, the cases were lost and spread out over hundreds of miles of the snow laden, mountainous terrain of the Rocky Mountains.
Enter our unknowing hero, Gabe Walker [Sylvester Stallone], who is a mountain guide by day, stud muffin by night. He is currently struggling with the death of his best friend’s fiancée, a death that he inadvertently caused. The question of what happens when an inexperienced climber, Sarah [Michelle Joyner], reaches the top of precarious peak is answered, as she dies a gruesome death. I mean come on, what else did you expect to happen? Her high-altitude plunge leaves her future husband Hal Tucker [Michael Rooker] and Gabe torn with regret. Their friendship suffers, as Hal is convinced that Gabe caused her to fall. It really doesn’t make that much sense though, as Gabe tried to save her and Hal should have never put the novice climber in such a position.
After the terrorists crash land, because of damaged suffered in the brief firefight, they begin to search for the lost bounty. In the process they call the mountain rangers for a rescue team, in a brilliant play of assistance that turns out to be double sided ploy. Just so happens, that Gabe is back in town to reclaim a lost love of his own, Jessie Deighan [Janine Turner], and also to pack up the rest of his belongings into the back of his beat-up, Jeep Waggoner. Seriously, I mean what women in her right mind wouldn’t want to run away from a snowy paradise to live out of the back of Gabe’s crappy Jeep. It’s a no brainer really. When
Jessie Deighan calls out Gabe, asking him to face his fears rather than to run away, he agrees on one more rescue, which could very well be his last. Eric Qualen and his crew of misfits; including obsessed soccer fan Delmar [Craig Fairbrass] who couldn’t act himself out of a wet paper bag, as he is without doubt the worst actor to ever grace the cinema screen, explosives expert Kynette [Leon Robinson], Travers of course, and one psycho broad named Kristal [Caroline Goodall], who has a tendency for delivering pain through sharpened steel. They may not be the coolest bunch, but they are all hell bench on finding the cash and nothing; not even torturous cliffs, extreme weather, at least 25 inches of snow, Gabe, Hal and did I mention snow, yes lots of snow…can stand in their way. It’s really all pretty strange, how inexperienced climbers almost always come close to finding the cash just before a professional, who has basically lived most of his life in the Rocky Mountains. In fact, Gabe is so accustomed to the area that he can go for hours with basically no equipment and wearing nothing but a burlap sweater, aged from the early part of the century.
Fresh off the success of the dramatic film ‘Lock Up’ and the not so classy comedy, Stop! or the ghastly embarrassing Estelle Getty Will Blow Your Freaking Brains Out, Sylvester Stallone was looking to switch things up and steer clear from the typical Box Office behemoths of pictures he was associated with the majority of his career. So he went on to film the snowy action thriller in ‘Cliffhanger‘. Don’t worry about Sly though; he is never really in any danger or falling to his death or catching a cold from not wearing a jacket the entire film. Stallone is ripped for the film as always. It’s amazing how good the man looks, as he is actually 47 years old during filming. Unbelievable really, how the man maintains a near perfect physic. Hell, I’m almost 30 and his body looks better than mine, not that mine is terrible, hey - I work out! Janine Turner ages faster than fine wine, but turns out to be vinegar. It’s cruel and unnecessary, but I really can’t believe how fast the actress went from being the young and sexy Jessie in ‘Cliffhanger’ to aged broad we found in the nightmarish television series, ‘Northern Exposure’. John Lithgow delivers a quality performance as the crazed Eric Qualen, and the same can be said about the rest of the cast, who plays out their parts with decent efforts.
‘Cliffhanger’ is not a particularly bad film; but has it edge of your seat moments. Don’t get me wrong, I personally love the film and have so for almost two decades now and I’ve always been a huge Stallone fan in general. Almost obsessive actually. The film does have great locations and cinematography, even though the majority of the stunt shooting was filmed on big budget sets. A little known fact is that ‘Cliffhanger’ is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records. For the most expensive aerial stunt ever preformed. Simon Crane, a stunt man, was paid a million dollars to perform the intense aerial transfer scene in which he crossed between two planes at an altitude of 15,000ft. It garnished some respect and maybe more than I’ve given, as it was nominated for 3 Oscars; Best Visual, Sound Effects Editing and Best Sound. I still remember seeing the film in the theatre as a teenager and the nostalgia effect looms large in my screening of the film. This probably accounts for my generous score, as I rated the film 6, which seems harsh, but in reality, it probably reaches its peak at a 5. In any event, fans who loved the film then, will undoubtedly love it now as it really has aged pretty well. It’s still packed with action and the storyline is well executed with little flaws or overall holes. It’s a grand scale, fun film and that’s all it really reaches for, and never claims to be anything else.
Blu-ray Video Quality – StudioCanal debuts ‘Cliffhanger’ as an avalanche of thrills on Blu-ray with a stunning awesome 1080p encoded image and the results are anything but ordinary. Mostly shot through exterior locations and sets, the scenery is intense and realistic. Anyone who has seen the film countless times, as I have, will remember how dull and sometimes grey the exterior shots were in the original source. On Blu-ray we find the lifeless exteriors transformed into vibrant and naturalistic outlooks. The disc is clean and bright, with a freshness to it that is unmistakable. Some dulling effects are noticeable to background shots, especially long- range camera pans. Clarity is fine and the overall sharpness has been dramatically improved. A minor problem I noticed was that the actual snow wasn’t really crisp enough and never really popped with detail or contrast. One never really gets the sense that you are in the mountain range, as altitude is minor at times and blunted. Colors appear bold and natural, sometimes glowing with intensity. Skin tones are a little bronzed at times, but never outright glazed. The transitions from the live action sequences to sets are noticeably and sometimes hinder the transfer in certain areas. The interior sets appear darker and the overcast changes in tone, with some loss of intensity. The ‘big-air’ stunts appear a little grated and the overcast appears a bit darker and dulled, as do mountain cavern scenes.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – “If you want me, I’m in here.” Those words have never sounded better than through the intricate 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track either in English or German. Overall, the Blu-ray sounds totally awesome and fantastic at the same time, with bold sensitivity to the background and concentrated bass throughout. Helicopters sound particularly intense, with wild flapping of the blades slightly inhibited for effect. Explosions slam through surrounds and ambiance is present with the correct amount of tone. Undoubtedly, one of the better sounding BD releases of 2010 so far. Honestly, despite the relatively low score that I felt was necessary for minor element flaws, I’m a fan of this transfer. It’s clean, clear and sharp. A major upgrade from anything we’ve ever seen from the film. The overall effect is of the transfer is dramatic and powerful. I feel StudioCanal did right by the film and kept it natural. Never adding too much and taking away just the right amount of grain for impressive results. I can easily recommend this film and viewers can expect a beautiful experience on Blu-ray waiting for them.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Sneak Peaks: Flight and Cold Blood [German Voice Dub]
Documentary: "Stallone on the Edge: The Making of 'Cliffhanger'" [20:00] Sylvester Stallone, in costume for 'Demolition Man,' and Renny Harlin dominate this rambling, self-satisfied documentary that doesn't go into nearly enough depth about this daunting production. Sylvester Stallone talks about the importance of taking risks, expresses a fear of heights, and interjects some cheesy comments while on-set footage provides glimpses of life behind the scenes.
Interviews: Here you get up close and personal with short interviews with Sylvester Stallone, Michael Rooker, Janine Turner, Renny harlin, John Lithgow and Alle Abspielen [German Subtitles]
Theatrical Trailer [HD] [5:00] The classy original theatrical trailer is presented in high definition, that has only background music.
Trailers: Mann Beist Hund, Possession – Das Dunkle In Dir, Taratino XX, Total Recall, Universal Soldier – Regeneration and Vehicle 19 [German Voice Dub]
Finally, for diehard action fans, it really doesn’t get much better than near vintage Sylvester Stallone, especially with all those bulging muscles. Now over 15 years since its release, ‘Cliffhanger’ makes a darling comeback, with a dominating presentation that will sure knock your socks off, especially with the stunning visuals and detailed special effects. Sylvester Stallone remains true and pumps out another quality effort, as does the rest of the cast and the storyline read one of a modern classic. So much so, that a remake from ‘StudioCanal’ was rumoured to begin filming in late 2010, but obviously they had second’s thoughts or they could not raise the money? ‘Cliffhanger’ on Blu-ray is sure to shock fans with its bold presentation and gorgeous transfer. It’s really an easy buy and the only thing left to do is recommend it. Enjoy it, I sure did and to have this German Limited Edition SteelBook Blu-ray because it is a really beautiful stunning looking SteelBook and a great honour to add to my Blu-ray Collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting action flick, though not up to DIE HARD,
A previous reviewer called CLIFFHANGER a "guilty pleasure," and that is pretty much the way I see the film.
CLIFFHANER was a return to action form for its star Sylvester Stallone, after he had made his indelible mark on the genre with his RAMBO trilogy in '80s. His character here, Gabe Walker, is drastically scaled-down, befitting the film's "high" concept, which is basically "DIE HARD on a mountain."
Okay, so the premise (which is actually credited in this movie to a man named John Long) is not breathtakingly original---a nasty group of robbers led by evil Eric Qualen (John Lithgow, effectively playing his role to the hilt) lose three cases of American money in the Rockies and force Walker and companion Hal Tucker (Michael Rooker, he of HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER) to help them find it. Director Renny Harlin---who also directed DIE HARD 2---brings all his action expertise to bear on the thin plot and actually succeeds in crafting a good action film out of it. He was lucky in getting cinematographer Alex Thomson on his team, and Thomson makes the most of the Italian Dolomites (standing in for the Rockies) mountain settings by creating shots that revel in its scenic grandeur and impart an appropriately dizzying sense of vertigo to the proceedings. And Harlin uses his penchant for fast action pacing to good effect here, generating an exciting sense of momentum that hardly ever lets up until the final showdown.
So, as action entertainment, CLIFFHANGER can be counted as a success. So why do I find it a "guilty" pleasure rather than simply a pleasure? Well, I have to admit that I found some of the violence in the second half of the film a little too much at times---not only gratuitous but sometimes downright brutal. The first half of the film is much more discreet with the bloodshed, relying more on genuine suspense-building and awesome special effects and stunts to make its proper effect (the first twelve-minute sequence is arguably the last word in sweat-inducing suspense and mounting tension). In the second half, though, the script (credited to Michael France and Stallone) and director let rip with gory abandon, and thus we get images of a black bad guy getting skewered upon a stalactite by the hero, and scenes like Tucker being kicked in the ribs and nose like a soccer ball for a good minute or so by a British terrorist (with some tasteless slo-mos to draw out the grand brutality). Did we really need to be subjected to such witless violence? Do the filmmakers assume that we are all so base in our tastes that we actually get turned on by this bloody stuff? Well, who knows? Maybe they have a point there, since I admit that the first time I saw this film I was shocked but hardly appalled by the violence on offer here. It is only after having seen it a few times since then that I am starting to question the validity of the violent scenes on offer here. Harlin started the film out so well, but then, after about an hour or so, it turns into a second-rate one-upping of icicle-in-the-eye scene in his superior DIE HARD 2.
Notwithstanding my unease about the violence in this movie, though, it must be said that CLIFFHANGER works. It is sometimes very exciting and suspenseful, the performances basically get the job done, and overall this is one of the better DIE HARD clones, thanks to some great cinematography and noteworthy action scenes. If neither of the first two DIE HARD films are available for rental, this will fit the bill. Just don't be surprised, after it is over, if you feel a little guilty about having enjoyed it as much as you did.
5.0 out of 5 stars Cliffhanger a blockbuster hit!!,
This review is from: Cliffhanger (VHS Tape)
CliffHanger made in 1993 is one of the most exciting action films on screen. The stunts and location in the movie are unbelievable.
It stars Sylvester Stallone as Gabriel Walker, and (Michael Rooker)as Hal Tucker as 2 climbing experts whose friendship comes to an end, when Tucker's girlfriend , Sarah
falls to her death while climbing when Gabe tries to rescue her. Tucker blames Walker for the accident and hasn't forgiven him ever since.
Jess Dieghan ( Janine Turner) plays Gabriel girlfriend and coworker on these hi-risk rock climbing jobs.
The basic plot in CliffHanger is that a group of terrorists led by a madman named Qualin (John Lighgow) are stealing money from the Treasury Department and making their escape through an airplane. Mr. Travers is the Treasury Agent who is assigned the task of showing an FBI agent, Mr. Mateson, how to find the sum of money that was stolen from Treasury department. However, Mr. Mateson's true job is to find the traitor inside the Treasury Department. It just so happens that Mr. Mateson, is on the same airplane that the terrorist, and the traitor
is, and in a really great scene, blows away a couple of the terrorists and puts their plan to steal the money on hold.
Eventually, Mr. Qualin and his remaining terrorists friends escape, but not before the money they stole gets tossed into the icy mountains below them. Qualin and his friends, stranded on the mountains, and angry about losing their money, come up a with a plan to get back.
They pretend to be stranded on the mountains, and call in a rescue team to get them, and to eventually force them to get their money.
The rescue team answers and you guessed it, it's Gabe Walker and his ex friend Hal Tucker who answer the call.
Now the action really stars and Gabe, and his friends must try to find a way to stop the madman Qualin and his terrorists.
There are really some amazing stunts in Cliffhanger. There are great action scenes, including a big avalanche scene, there is also a great scene in which Gabe literally
surfs on the ice while avoiding the machine gun bullets of the terrorists chasing them.
Stallone's character, Gabe is also a very smart guy, he comes up with some pretty good plans to foil Qualin's plan, while at the same time using his strong muscles as an added weapon. Stallone is his usual calm and cool self, delivering the smart, but lethal Walker, and gives his character some depth throughout the movie.
John Lighgow is also great as Qualin. Litghow has made a good career playing the psycho. In the memorable Ricochet, his acting as the psychotic left a lasting impression with me.
Now there's probably some people who already have seen Cliffhanger before, but the DVD delivers the movie in a way you haven't seen before
*Special look at the special
effects of the movie
The movie was directed by Renny Harlin, another one of those directors that don't get the spotlight but who have directed many blockbuster movies including:
*Die Hard 2
Furthermore, the hits that Harlin has directed have been made into
games: Cliffhanger was made for the Sega Genesis, Supernes and Gameboy. The games for it, are actually pretty good. Likewise Die Hard 2 was made for the pc and Playstation, along with Driven for the Gameboy Advance.
So Cliffhanger is an awesome movie, and now with the special DVD for it, it's definitely worth seeing once again.
3.0 out of 5 stars A Guilty Pleasure,
Since I am writing this review, I am also publicly confessing to having spent two hours watching Cliffhanger. After this, nothing I suffer in life can be a humiliation.
This movie received four Razzie nominations: Worst picture of the year, worst screenplay (Sylvester Stallone), worst supporting actress (Janine Turner) and worst supporting actor (John Lithgow). There are a couple of injustices here: Stallone was denied his rightful, annual Razzie nomination for worst actor. The jury must have been stacked with Stallone fans that year. And I enjoyed Lithgow's over-the-top turn as the leader of the crooks.
But you can't argue with Janine Turner's (Northern Exposure) nomination: I could have given a better and sexier performance as a female, in spite of being a bit, shall we say, well-nourished, and having a mustache.
This movie made a ton of money, which also makes sense. It's entertaining. Director Renny Harlin knows how to make action thrillers. In this one, the Treasury Department is transporting over $150 million in $1000 bills by jet; a band of crooks aims to rob the couriers. The money ends up on the snowy side of a mountain, so the crooks kidnap world-class mountain rescue experts Sylvester Stallone and Michael Rooker, to track it down.
Norman Kent and Alex Thomson's cinematography is breathtaking, the stunts are truly death-defying, and some of the actors are good, most notably Rooker, Ralph Waite (as a rescuer), Lithgow and Rex Linn (as a treasury agent).
Since we live in a therapeutic society, I can't take responsibility for my actions -- it was all my 3-year-old son's fault. The movie came on late at night, after he had woken up (and while I was supposed to be working), and he insisted we see it together. It turns out, his judgment was excellent, as Cliffhanger is perfectly suited for the sensibility of a three-year-old boy.
In case you have too much money on your hands, you can order this from Amazon. If your neighbors see you taking the video package from your mailbox, you can just say, "Oh, I thought I'd finally give Gone with the Wind a shot."
Should you decide, instead, to rent Cliffhanger from a video store, you might try a trench coat, dark glasses, and a hat pulled down low on your face. Or as with other pornographic films, you could say to yourself, "What the hell, my neighbors are buying the same trash," and go in as you are.
The Critical Critic, March 6, 2004.
4.0 out of 5 stars Return to Form for Sly,
After a string of ill-conceived comedies, Stallone returned to what he did best in 1993; the action junket. Armed this time with a pedigree to prove, and a director that knows his stuff (Renny Harlin), Sly became a box-office sensation once more, and wowed audiences all over the world with this phenomenal thriller.
The acting is average, with a few bright spots; John Lithgow (in his third incarnation as a villain--the others being "Ricochet" and "Raising Cain") overshadowing Stallone in a battle of one-liners, and Michael Rooker, who always manages to put in a solid effort in whatever film he's in. The real star of this movie, however, isn't the superbly filmed action, but the cinematography.
Set in the Italian Dolemites, the scenery is breathtaking--some of the best mountain footage seen in theatres in a long time. When there's a break in the action, you're enthralled by the background, which isn't always the case with any movie, let alone an action flick. Much props to the director for filming most of this movie on location.
The DVD is pretty good, and the commentary track is reasonable--but with DTS sound, and a quality surround system, this movie looks and sounds phenomenal. They've done a great job with the video transfer, considering that DVDs would only become popular about five years after this film was released.
4.0 out of 5 stars Stallone's comeback movie!!,
Before this one, Stallone had a series of flops, but this one is definately one of his best & shows a more human side to Stallone not seen since Rambo II & Rocky, In this he is Gabe, a mountain rescue worker who fails miserably in a misguided attempt to rescue his best friend's girlfriend in a climbing expedition gone wrong, while crossing over to another peak on a cable, she soon loses her grip, Gabe attempts to rescue her but fails as she falls to her death at least 100 stories up, the film then proceeds to its plot where the Treasury is getting ready to transport three cases of International money by plane, it is soon hijacked in mid-air by a group of International terrorist led by John Lithgow who has a field day as bad guy Eric Qualen with one-liners that would rival Alan Rickman in "Die Hard", as they attempt to steal the money with the help of a rogue agent, another agent near death after being shot by the rogue one, foils the plan in which case they lose the money in mid-air & watch as it falls to the mountains below, the agent soon shoots their plane before the Treasury plane that he is on explodes forcing them to crash land in the mountains, it is here that we see the return of Gabe who joins up with his resentful friend(Michael Rooker) to rescue what they believe are ordinary people, when they learn that they have been decieved by the terrorist they soon are in for the ride of their lives,as Gabe just barely escapes with his life & begins a one-man assault on the group as he locates their money one at a time, Janine Turner is here as Stallone's girlfriend who soon joins the action as she meets up with Gabe, as they attempt to stop the terrorists, lots of great action set-pieces, & Lithgow's performance is chilling, but you can tell he had fun, everyone plays their roles to perfection especially Rex Linn( Breakdown) as the rogue agent who see the errors of his ways somewhat toward the end, as he tells Qualin what to go do with himself, the last 10 minutes is intense & somewhat reminisent of "Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom" & fun to watch, it may borrow from "Indiana Jones" & "Die Hard", but not many movies have been made like this one in a mountain region!!!, Highly Recommended!!!
4.0 out of 5 stars Go Climb A Rock,
Looked at as strictly an actioner, director Renny Harlin's CLIFFHANGER, is a well made exercise. Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone) blames himself for the death of a friend, while leading a group of friends on a mountain climbing trip.As a member of Rocky Mountain Resue, he believes, that he should have been able to save her...Distraught, he resigns over the accident...He is called into action after a plane goes down and the survivors, now trapped on a mountain, send a out a call for help. But as it turns the victims of the crash are really terrorists, who need help locating millons in stolen cash, now spread out over the rough terrain. John Lithgow is Eric Qualen, the leader of the bad guys, and boy does he have fun chewing the scenery. The action is well done and moves at a brisk pace. Like most action films, this one should be taken for what it is, and nothing more. It is much better than the recent movie VERTICAL LIMIT (another rock climbing flick), at least this one is fun, as opposed to VL, which I compare to nails on a chalkboard.
The DVD has some good extra features. There's a solid commentary track with Harlin and Sly (yo!). It also includes some well produced featurettes about how the action sequences were accomplished. The deleted scenes don't offer much and their space on the cutting room floor, was warranted, but they're fun to see. Rounding out the extras are the usual theatrical trailers, photo galleries, talent files, production notes, and storyboards with DVD-ROM content. Overall, a fine "Collector's Edition DVD, that comes with my recommendation, especially for any action film fan
5.0 out of 5 stars High-Caliber Excitement!,
Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone) was haunted by a woman falling to her death. Her equipment started to break while she was dangling stories high from the ground. Mountain climbing had never been so difficult and Walker pulled himself toward her to grab her. He caught her as she fell, but her hand started to slip. It was a terrifying moment. When she fell, he was devastated and felt guilty for many years. It wasn't his fault, it was slippage. Well, in present day, John Lithgow (wannabe wiseguy) has dropped millions of dollars into some snowy mountains. He and his group of hooligans try to recover the money and they have the deity and Michael Rooker to help them get it back. Lots of mayhem and avalanches galore! I was amazed with the ability that Stallone had. Climbing a freezing mountain in only a t-shirt, jumping off of cliffs and swimming underneath some ice. Gargantuan! Stallone vs. Lithgow at the end was a bit pitiful. Why let the 3rd Rock guy even punch you a couple of times? That was nice of you Stallone. Well, Renny Harlin's "Cliffhanger" does deliver and it won't disappoint any Stallone fan. Icy entertainment!
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly 'Peak' Performance,
It doesn't take long before the film CLIFFHANGER reveals its formula. We've seen the story before and we'll see it again. When Renny Harlin took over directing chores, he put a strong emphasis on effects and action, both of which can't bring the film to greatness.
Sylvester Stallone is our hero, who suffers from guilt associated with the high altitude death of a friend. But, when another friend is abducted by villains seeking three cases full of money scattered atop mountain peaks, he must put it all aside and come to terms with himself. Stallone has played this part before and this performance will never be confused with a personal stretch.
Some of the special effects are marvelous at times placing Stallone upon Vertigo inducing heights. Most of the films action may not be original, but with Renny Harlin constructing it as he did in DIE HARD 2, it is pretty cool.
The Collector's Edition DVD has a great audio/video transfer and 3 audio commentaries (by Stallone, the tech crew and Harlin) highlighting the creation of the film. This is often more interesting than the film itself. There are also some deleted scenes to look at and a making of documentary. Not the greatest of films, CLIFFHANGER manages to make it slightly above average.
4.0 out of 5 stars Cliffhanger,
Renny Harlin's action flick Cliffhanger is an exciting adrenalin-pumping ride. And while it could be described as "Die Hard on a Mountain", it's still exhilarating fun that's one of Stallone's best films.
John Lithgow is the movie's main villain, and he works his stuff to great effect, and set up against Stallone's he-man heroics, the two are both tremendous. And the action ante is set up far more than other Die Hard rip-offs such as Executive Decision. Renny Harlin's direction makes the film's tendencies toward brutal violence get rather extreme at times, and to see Stallone manage to beat the meatloaf out of the bad guys after getting wasted is sometimes beyond believable, but as the DVD's deleted scenes show, they actually toned down the film's superman-like qualities to good effect.
Action aside, the plot is silly at times and some of the characters are taken straight from the big book of bad movie stereotypes. But Stallone's devotees don't care, as this film can be seen now as nostalgic after seeing the big guy's recent flop movies (Get Carter). And Harlin, from Die Hard 2 fame, brings much of the same cool action and stunts, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Action at it's most outrageous (Except maybe for Face Off).
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