Vertical Limit

"Terrible"

Vertical Limit Review


With only the thinnest thread of a tether anchoring its mountain climbing action in reality, "Vertical Limit" takes suspension of disbelief to new extremes for a film that goes out of its way to seem credible.

Celebrated Everest-conqueror Ed Viesturs has a multiple-scene cameo in this adventure about a climber trying to rescue his sister from a huge crevasse near the top of K-2, the world's highest mountain.

But the stunts are so far-fetched you don't even have to own a pair of hiking boots to find them laughable. Even more hilarious, it's pathetically obvious that much of the movie was shot on a soundstage with cheap mountainside scrims in the background.

Take the opening sequence, a desert rock-climbing accident in which the our hero (pretty blockhead Chris O'Donnell) is forced to cut his father loose to fall to his death in order to save himself and his sister (pretty, freckled and pouty Robin Tunney). The scene looks like a rip-off of the "Mission: Impossible 2" opening with Tom Cruise hanging off a 200-foot high rock face -- if the rock face had been made of foamcore and propped up in front of an enlarged postcard of Arizona. The actors' voices even echo like they're inside a gymnasium.

The movie then jumps to a couple years later and a shaken Peter Garrett (O'Donnell, who doesn't seem shaken at all) hasn't climbed since. In the mean time, Annie Garrett (Tunney, "End of Days") has honored her father's memory by becoming magazine-cover famous after climbing her way to the top of the sport. But she hasn't forgiven Peter for their father's death, a plot point that barely comes up again after being introduced in the early going.

Annie is helping to lead an adventurous billionaire (Bill Paxton) up K-2 in a publicity stunt for his new airline (the maiden flight is going to fly over the summit as they arrive) when egos collide with nature, trapping them on the mountain during a storm. At the base camp to cheer her on, Peter hears that Annie, the billionaire and another climber have fallen down a monster crack in a glacier. He organizes a band of eccentric (and expendable) rescuers, grabs a few handy canisters of nitroglycerine (don't ask!) to blast them out of the snow, and sets off on a suicide mission to bring her back.

Completely disinterested in the human drama of survival, "Vertical Limit" is mostly about stuntmen (who look nothing like the actors they double) hanging from helicopters and jumping off cliffs. In between such episodes, director Martin Campbell ("The Mask of Zorro," "GoldenEye") will cut back to O'Donnell on the soundstage with his crew of quirky misfits or to Tunney in the snow cave -- where, inexplicably, the trapped climbers are worried about running out of water. (Hello? You're in a snow cave.)

Oh, did I mention that Peter's group is being lead up the mountain by a crazed, mystically sage hippie-climber (Scott Glenn) who was his dad's army buddy and whose wife died on the mountain some years before? "They never found her body," someone says ominously, "so he just keeps looking."

Barely two minutes go by in this picture without some kind of glaring nonsense in the script or the action. If it's not a climber saving himself from a Wile E. Coyote death plunge merely by planting an ice pick in some loose snow, it's the hottie rescue climber (Izabella Scorupco) agreeing to come along because there's a big reward and she needs $500,000 to go back to medical school. Huh? And let's not even talk about the fact that the climbers' backpacks clearly weigh nothing, that they're all dressed more appropriately for spring skiing than for mountain climbing above 25,000 feet, and that they're taking seemingly unexplored and impassable routes up the mountain which require leaping across canyons and scaling sheer rock faces in every other scene.

Campbell seems to think that the presence of Viesturs and the inclusion of a few high-altitude frostbite factoids gives "Vertical Limit" enough legitimacy leeway that he can exaggerate everything else entirely out of proportion and cast an attractive but talent-deprived actor to cardboard his way though the laughably bad script.

But he's wrong. "Vertical Limit" is to mountain climbing what the WWF is to Olympic wrestling -- lowbrow sound and fury with no credibility.



Vertical Limit

Facts and Figures

Run time: 124 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th December 2000

Box Office USA: $67.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $68.5M

Budget: $75M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures Corporation, Global Entertainment Productions GmbH & Company Medien KG

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Fresh: 52 Rotten: 57

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Peter Garrett, as Annie Garrett, as Elliot Vaughn, as Montgomery Wick, as Monique Aubertine, as Tom, as Le major Rasul, as Kareem Nazir, as Royce Garrett, Augie Davis as Aziz, as Colonel Amir Salim, Alejandro Valdes-Rochin as Sergeant Asim, Rod Brown as Ali Hasan, as Cyril Bench, as Malcolm Bench, as Himself, as Skip Taylor

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.