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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.81%
Worth A Look: 11.72%
Average: 28.13%
Pretty Bad39.06%
Total Crap: 13.28%

9 reviews, 74 user ratings

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Vertical Limit
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Scott Weinberg

"Is there such a thing as a 'Cliche Limit'?"
2 stars

In the grand tradition of earlier "chilly mountain" movies such as Alive, Cliffhanger and K2, we are now offered Vertical Limit. Much like these other films, 'Vertical' also features atrocious acting and ridiculous dialogue, in addition to several implausible action sequences, nasty death scenes, and just an all-around air of dumbness. Maybe it's the altitude making everyone so stupid, especially the screenwriters.

Back in old-time Hollywood, the B-movies were easier to spot than today. They often looked very cheaply made and the advertising was usually exploitative enough to show how desperate the producers were to turn a profit. Not anymore. In modern Hollywood, the B-movies now get as big a budget as the 'classy' movies...sometimes even higher (Armageddon, anyone?). Such is the case with Vertical Limit; it's a cheesy old adventure movie with a script seemingly written in 1941. It's just the packaging that's new.

One day an executive at Columbia sat down and said "I wanna put $50 million bucks behind a mountain-climbing movie that can be described in only one sentence." Luckily a few screenwriters were down the hall eating Doritos and they got called into the exec's office. The first two guys came in and were asked their credentials.

Robert King: "I wrote Clean know...that Dana Carvey comedy? And I also wrote mummmble mumble mmmmummmble..."

Exec: "What was that?"

Robert King: "Cutthroat Island, OK? I wrote Cutthroat...[weeping uncontrollably]I wrote that awful dreadful pirate dreck! My kids needed braces!"

Exec: "OK, that's fine. That means you'll work for marshmallows. What about you?"

Terry Hayes: "I wrote Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and Dead Calm."

Exec: "Hmm...A desert movie and an ocean movie...You'd be PERFECT to write a movie about mountain climbing!"

So off the two happily employed screenwriters went. The resulting screenplay can best be described in the following sentence: Vertical Limit has a lot of cool visuals. No adventure-drama in recent history has as funny a screenplay as this film. You'd have to go as far back as Congo to come close.

A group of mountain climbers must navigate the treacherous K2 mountain to rescue the hero's sister. That's it. Realizing there was something a little missing from this plot (like a STORY), our screenwriters decided to simply throw a few hoary old plot devices in, since plot devices are less expensive than actual stories and characters. Climb, climb, climb, avalanche, climb, climb, Nitro-Glycerin explosion, climb, climb, awful dialogue, climb, climb, helicopter, climb, climb, cool action scenes that were shown to death in the previews, climb, climb, random death, climb, climb, credits. I just saved you 7 bucks.

I've always contended that Chris O'Donnell has the screen presence of a fried egg, and his performance here has done nothing to change my mind. Also on hand to humiliate himself is the formerly reliable actor Scott Glenn, who plays a gruff old mountain man looks like he's made of burlap. But the true standout of the cast is Robin Tunney. If there is a more vacuous and vacant actress currently alive than this world, then I'm Fred Gwynne. From her roles in The Craft to End of Days to Supernova, she is consistently and irretrievably awful. In Vertical Limit, she plays a climbing expert (excuse me while I snort Pepsi out my nose) who spends the entire movie literally freezing to death, and Tunney can't even blow a nasal snot bubble convincingly.

With a reliable action director like Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro) on hand, I had relatively high expectations, but even the best director can't polish a turd-like script like this one, and the result is a movie with three or four truly solid scenes, surrounded by 100 minutes of predictable and silly contrivance.

If the exciting previews for this film got you all excited, let me be the first to tell you: Vertical Limit is one silly and disappointing affair. You'll only stay awake to catch the cool 'trailer scenes', and beyond those you'll be hard pressed to find anything enjoyable in this frozen wasteland of a movie.

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originally posted: 12/10/00 19:41:12
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User Comments

3/25/13 E.C.D. Takes way too long to get going. This is simple, plain, and needed to be 20 minutes shorter 3 stars
8/30/09 CTT Meh 3 stars
11/15/05 Quigley this is one heckuva movie, all right. action was really good, but acting wasn't up to snuff 4 stars
8/18/05 ES It's funny when the sun hits the nitro and it explodes = invest in radios that work dumbass 2 stars
4/02/05 Alice Colwell boring 2 stars
1/21/05 DM Horrible script somewhat salvaged by exciting action scenes 3 stars
11/23/04 D-Unit It blows the big one!!! 1 stars
9/24/04 Al Guy Robin Tunney is cute. The movie is not. 3 stars
9/16/04 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
3/13/04 john bale White Hell meets Wages of Fear in the ultimate cliff hanger. Stunt man are the stars. 3 stars
3/04/04 timson "Chris O'Donnell, luv ya!". You, Rainbow, are an asshole. 1 stars
1/07/04 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
7/18/03 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
9/15/02 syrius I have to slap the retards who decided to make this movie 1 stars
6/14/02 Ray Gordon Now you know why Darwin never climbed mountains. 1 stars
5/15/02 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
2/07/02 Lila great movie i love chris o'donnel 5 stars
2/03/02 Andrew Carden See The 1978 Rock Hudson B-Flick Avalance Instead. 1 stars
1/16/02 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
11/27/01 KMG This movie is one nut-filled turd 1 stars
11/21/01 Matthew bartley Good stunts.Average addition to the disaster genre 3 stars
9/19/01 Karyn Monty Python movies are more believable then these special effects. 2 stars
8/29/01 Amy All "downhill" after the first three minutes 2 stars
8/12/01 tnt pathetically stupid in every way possible!!!! Avoid at all cost! 1 stars
7/10/01 Anne Predictable from the first five minutes. The scenery didn't make up for the retread plot. 2 stars
7/02/01 The Bomb 69 fun movie, could see what was happening a mile away but i was still entertained 4 stars
6/25/01 Matt Dorsey Blue screen effects. Predictable. Dubious nitro explosions. Somewhat entertaining. 3 stars
6/21/01 Bud OK rental with good special effects. No stirring performances. 3 stars
6/20/01 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
6/05/01 Monday Morning Unbelievable but fabulous. Hell, just enjoy it! 5 stars
5/28/01 Wrob Stunning effects and highly unplausable action wrapped in a paper-thin plot. Typical. 2 stars
5/14/01 Destruction Worker On par with Cliffhanger 5 stars
5/10/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Cliche, cliche, and...oh, would ya looky here? ANOTHER cliche!! 2 stars
4/05/01 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
1/29/01 Nic It really left me on the edge of my seat. Not many movies do that for me. 4 stars
1/22/01 Emily Leigh itd the best so go cheak it out ! 5 stars
1/20/01 Ground Zero this was waay crappier than Cliffhanger 2 stars
1/17/01 Jes VERY unrealistic... 3 stars
1/13/01 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
1/06/01 Viking I liked the snow leopards 3 stars
12/27/00 Mamjama LOL..sorry this flick sucked...but what's an Australian Sterotype???? 2 stars
12/25/00 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
12/22/00 Stipey Dude, Where's My Carcass? 2 stars
12/21/00 Schell 6 climbers go on a rescue mission at 8,000m without oxygen gas, parkas or acclimitization. 2 stars
12/20/00 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
12/15/00 Kevin D. My high hopes for this movie were lost in a cave. 1 stars
12/14/00 Diehard I thought it was good, way better than expected. 4 stars
12/13/00 Mr. X Comparisons to "Cliffhanger" and "Everest" were inevitable. Just plain silly. 2 stars
12/12/00 PhilmPhreak Dumb, dumb, dumb, good stunts, dumb, dumb 1 stars
12/12/00 Jack Daniels OK action movie 3 stars
12/12/00 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
12/11/00 Angus moorehead A simple film which scales the height in the latest extreme-wear fashion. 2 stars
12/11/00 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
12/10/00 Sam S. Far above any action movie I've seen in a long time. 5 stars
12/10/00 Kohawk If you're there for eye candy and not much substance it's ok. Low end just average 3 stars
12/10/00 Brandon - The Man Despite moments of great suspense, it had bad acting, lame story, ridiculous situations. 2 stars
12/07/00 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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