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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.81%
Worth A Look: 11.72%
Just Average: 28.13%
Pretty Crappy39.06%
Sucks: 13.28%

9 reviews, 74 user ratings

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Vertical Limit
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by EricDSnider

"Reaches the top, then goes over it."
4 stars

In a film chock-full of events that range from the unlikely to the physically impossible, probably the most unbelievable moment in "Vertical Limit" is when the main guy and the sort-of main girl kiss. By itself, it doesn't mean much. But it goes a long way toward reminding us that this movie is made from an action-movie template.

First, we have the Haunted Hero. Peter Garrett (the handsomely bland Chris O'Donnell) and his sister Annie (Robin Tunney) were rock-climbing in Southern Utah a few years ago when an accident resulted in the death of their father. Annie blames Peter for it (she has a point, by the way), and Peter hasn't climbed since then, immersing himself instead in his job as a National Geographic photographer.

They are reunited at K2, the mountain that is second-highest but hardest-to-climb in the world. He's there taking pictures of playful wildcats; she's there to accompany blithe billionaire Elliot Vaughn (Bill Paxton) on a deadlined climb to the top. Vaughn is launching a new airline, and as a publicity stunt, he wants to be at the summit when the inaugural plane flies overhead. He fills the Person Who Treats Mother Nature Lightly role, setting out to the top with little regard for possible bad weather.

Annie is there with him, as are expert climber Tom McLaren (Nicholas Lea) and Expendable Characters whose names I forgot. Wouldn't you know it, the weather turns bad, and more wouldn't you know it, there's an avalanche that sends the Expendable Characters to meet their maker(s) and lodges the three characters with names inside a big snow cave.

Back at base camp, Haunted Hero has to face his fears and become Unlikely Hero. They reckon the trio only has 36 hours to live, so they hurriedly set out to find them. They bring Grouchy Old Guy Who Knows Everything (Scott Glenn), a woman named Monique (Izabella Scorupco), a Character of Diversity (he's Muslim!) and a couple of Australians to act as comic relief. They also bring a lot of nitroglycerin, hoping to use it to blast open the cave when they get there, but instead using it primarily to accidentally blow each other up along the way.

Is this the kind of movie where everyone makes it out safely? Heavens, no. With the shot of Peter and Annie's dad hitting the ground setting the precedent, we know the death toll will be high; the only question is who will live and who won't.

As a boiler-plate action movie, "Vertical Limit" is quite good, featuring as it does some splendidly terrifying moments that play on everyone's natural fear of heights. Director Martin Campbell ("Goldeneye") knows how to set up a suspenseful action sequence, and the movie has several of them, including an utterly unbelievable but nonetheless compelling back-and-forth between Annie crossing a ledge in the cave and two other characters trying not to fall off a cliff.

We could do without the skullduggery that emerges -- you know, the obligatory "it turns out so-and-so is a bad guy, and someone else has a grudge against him" thing. It doesn't make the suspense any greater; the cliffs and avalanches don't need any help there, thank you very much. The acting is passable, the dialogue is serviceable and occasionally clever, and darned if it's not an adrenaline-booster all the way around.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1759&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/06/03 20:31:07
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User Comments

3/24/13 E.C.D. Takes way too long to get going. This is simple, plain, and needed to be 20 minutes shorter 3 stars
8/29/09 CTT Meh 3 stars
11/14/05 Quigley this is one heckuva movie, all right. action was really good, but acting wasn't up to snuff 4 stars
8/17/05 ES It's funny when the sun hits the nitro and it explodes = invest in radios that work dumbass 2 stars
4/01/05 Alice Colwell boring 2 stars
1/21/05 DM Horrible script somewhat salvaged by exciting action scenes 3 stars
11/22/04 D-Unit It blows the big one!!! 1 stars
9/23/04 Al Guy Robin Tunney is cute. The movie is not. 3 stars
9/15/04 Ryuji Oh dear. Crap story, crap effects. To top it off, the acting is more wooden than Pinochio. 1 stars
5/12/04 Gavin Loved it. Was one hell of a ride! Check it out. 5 stars
3/12/04 john bale White Hell meets Wages of Fear in the ultimate cliff hanger. Stunt man are the stars. 3 stars
3/03/04 timson "Chris O'Donnell, luv ya!". You, Rainbow, are an asshole. 1 stars
1/06/04 The name's Rainbow. Oh common! It has one of the coolest and hottest sidekicks around! Chris O'Donnell, luv ya! 4 stars
10/04/03 Chrys Calling it crap is an insult to feces. 1 stars
7/17/03 Chris I wanted to see this movie but when I did I was very dissappointed. This had potential. 2 stars
9/28/02 HekiliKoa the plot was as predictable as a weather in Greenland: always shitty 2 stars
9/14/02 syrius I have to slap the retards who decided to make this movie 1 stars
6/13/02 Ray Gordon Now you know why Darwin never climbed mountains. 1 stars
5/14/02 Blake The cliffs in this film looked like your were there. 5 stars
3/09/02 KrynnDM ...and I picked *this* over Charlie's Angels?! 2 stars
2/06/02 Lila great movie i love chris o'donnel 5 stars
2/02/02 Andrew Carden See The 1978 Rock Hudson B-Flick Avalance Instead. 1 stars
1/15/02 David A. Scenery and effects were entertaining, more so than the plot 4 stars
12/31/01 Moe Mr. Bean would have been a more believable climber 2 stars
12/23/01 Crunchyfrog Opening sequence is the funniest piece of film ever! 5 stars
11/26/01 KMG This movie is one nut-filled turd 1 stars
11/20/01 Matthew bartley Good stunts.Average addition to the disaster genre 3 stars
9/18/01 Karyn Monty Python movies are more believable then these special effects. 2 stars
8/28/01 Amy All "downhill" after the first three minutes 2 stars
8/11/01 tnt pathetically stupid in every way possible!!!! Avoid at all cost! 1 stars
7/09/01 Anne Predictable from the first five minutes. The scenery didn't make up for the retread plot. 2 stars
7/01/01 The Bomb 69 fun movie, could see what was happening a mile away but i was still entertained 4 stars
6/24/01 Matt Dorsey Blue screen effects. Predictable. Dubious nitro explosions. Somewhat entertaining. 3 stars
6/20/01 Bud OK rental with good special effects. No stirring performances. 3 stars
6/19/01 Melody Leu This movie was really awesome. Izabelle Scorupco and Chris Odonell were great and the other 5 stars
6/10/01 r davis Awful! Chinese water torture is preferable. 1 stars
6/04/01 Monday Morning Unbelievable but fabulous. Hell, just enjoy it! 5 stars
5/27/01 Wrob Stunning effects and highly unplausable action wrapped in a paper-thin plot. Typical. 2 stars
5/13/01 Destruction Worker On par with Cliffhanger 5 stars
5/09/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Cliche, cliche, and...oh, would ya looky here? ANOTHER cliche!! 2 stars
4/04/01 Hawkeye Alexander Siddig was good in his role, as were others, but the plot couldn't be saved. 3 stars
2/28/01 Rahul Gupta good action, who cares about the story as most of them similar anyway 4 stars
1/28/01 Nic It really left me on the edge of my seat. Not many movies do that for me. 4 stars
1/21/01 Emily Leigh itd the best so go cheak it out ! 5 stars
1/19/01 Ground Zero this was waay crappier than Cliffhanger 2 stars
1/17/01 Jes VERY unrealistic... 3 stars
1/12/01 Avenger Girl Sure there are some dumb things in the movie, as in most movies. OK action flick. 4 stars
1/12/01 Lord Raymos Really dumb plot, but nice action sequences. 2 stars
1/11/01 Boy In The Designer Bubble My cousin dragged me to this movie. I kicked the shit out of him when we got home. 1 stars
1/05/01 Viking I liked the snow leopards 3 stars
12/26/00 Mamjama LOL..sorry this flick sucked...but what's an Australian Sterotype???? 2 stars
12/24/00 matthew smith good action set pieces, pity about the script and lacks charisma 3 stars
12/23/00 MadBunny Nitro freezes (stable), the whole sunlight shit ignores ambient temperatures...helooo.. 1 stars
12/21/00 Stipey Dude, Where's My Carcass? 2 stars
12/20/00 Schell 6 climbers go on a rescue mission at 8,000m without oxygen gas, parkas or acclimitization. 2 stars
12/19/00 malcolm pretty good, but O'Donnell's character was SUPER selfish 3 stars
12/18/00 kayti denham Lame action and offensive stereotyping of Australians 1 stars
12/14/00 Kevin D. My high hopes for this movie were lost in a cave. 1 stars
12/13/00 Diehard I thought it was good, way better than expected. 4 stars
12/12/00 Mr. X Comparisons to "Cliffhanger" and "Everest" were inevitable. Just plain silly. 2 stars
12/11/00 PhilmPhreak Dumb, dumb, dumb, good stunts, dumb, dumb 1 stars
12/11/00 Jack Daniels OK action movie 3 stars
12/11/00 Ground Zero What the hell is this? Cliffhanger 2? 2 stars
12/11/00 frankko if there had been no dialogue, the movie would have been a lot better. 3 stars
12/10/00 Angus moorehead A simple film which scales the height in the latest extreme-wear fashion. 2 stars
12/10/00 Doctor Collosus Wow!!! Adrenalin RUSH! First really exviting movie in years. 5 stars
12/10/00 FrayLo Don't look for a great plot, this one was all about entertainment... 3 stars
12/10/00 Sexton Hardcastle Bah! Poop! 1 stars
12/09/00 Sam S. Far above any action movie I've seen in a long time. 5 stars
12/09/00 Kohawk If you're there for eye candy and not much substance it's ok. Low end just average 3 stars
12/09/00 Brandon - The Man Despite moments of great suspense, it had bad acting, lame story, ridiculous situations. 2 stars
12/06/00 Jennifer Verticell Good movie if you like action. 4 stars
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  08-Dec-2000 (PG-13)


  21-Dec-2000 (M)

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