Limit" on DVD
A Real Cliffhanger
by Johnny Bray
When going to see an action flick, plot and acting are not really overly
Sure, if you can have them too, it's a definite bonus, but generally
Vertical Limit proves that action alone can make a movie enjoyable.
However, Chris ODonnell is definitely not the man for the lead
in this type of movie. He is far too boyish and not mean-looking enough.
However, he is much more tolerable than Keanu Reeves. At least he has
some minor acting talent.
What there is of a plot is as follows: A young mountain climber takes
a rich tycoon up the worlds second-highest and most deadly
mountain. As luck would have it, they end up getting caught in
an avalanche and are stranded several metres below the surface.
There, they must endure hypothermia, a lack of food and water, and a
disease that affects their lungs. So it's up to Mr. ODonnell to
assemble a team to climb the mountain and rescue them, even though he
quit climbing ten years ago.
Nitroglycerin is, of course, the only explosive they can find on such
short notice, and they think it a great idea to take some along with them.
And as sensitive as the nitro is, they manage to jump around all over
the place without it blowing up. Yet, if it leaks onto the snow, it blows
up half the mountain.
As is the case with any action movie ever made, at times you must suspend
your knowledge of physics, as well as your belief in realism. Like when
Peter (ODonnell) is jumping across the valley to the other mountain
(which turns out to be the same mountain for some reason); in real life
he would snap his arms, but it makes for a cool sequence in a movie.
Martin Campbell shows his talent as an action movie director. His ability
to emphasize action sequences can make you forget that this is one of
the worst ideas ever concocted for a film. The Mask of Zorro was a very
surprisingly entertaining flick. And without Campbells touch, Goldeneye
might not have been as good as it was.
The special effects are the other savior of this movie. Some of the shots
are downright amazing; much better than those in Cliffhanger (the obvious
father of Vertical Limit).
As is usually the case these days, most of the good parts are shown in
the trailer. Fortunately, the sequences are much longer than the half
second you see, so it's worth it to see them anyway.
Vertical Limit is a good, enjoyable movie. Yes, Chris ODonnell
lacks as a lead action hero, and yes, very little of the movie is remotely
believable, but so what?
If you want to see action with some cool effects, you'll leave the home
theater a happy climber.
The Special Edition DVD is in anamorphic widescreen, 16x9 TV compatible,
with Dolby Digital audio, and the video and audio quality are top notch.
There's also an abundance of extras, including a running commentary, "making
of" featurette, search and rescue tales, a National Geographic special
on K2, talent files, production notes, and trailers.
Vertical Limit, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
124 min. widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 compatible, Dolby Digital
Starring Chris O'Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn
Produced by Lloyd Philips, Robert King, Martin Campbell
Written by Robert King and Terry Hayes, Directed by Martin Campbell.
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