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Customer Review

on 31 March 2003
"Vertical Limit" fosters comparisons to "Cliffhanger" because they both start out the same way as the hero, Chris O'Donell as Peter Garrett this time around, faces a fatal mountain climbing accident which makes him swear off such nonsense until circumstances force him to conquer his demons and a bigger, badder mountain. The mountain in question is K2 and the person he needs to rescue is his estranged sister, Annie (Robin Tunney), who is actually trapped INSIDE the mountain. This twist is necessary to justify carting volatile nitroglycerine around the mountain for a series of spectacular explosions. But then everybody with a brain in their head has refused to join in the rescue attempt, leaving it to Peter to take a couple of drunken Aussies who do it because everyone else is too chicken, (Steve Le Marquand and Ben Mendelsohn), the sherpa who is doing it because his cousin is one of those missing on the mountain, (Alexander Siddig), a French-Canadian babe who is doing it for the money (Izabella Scorupco), and the legendary half-crazed mountain climber who has a score to settle with someone (Scott Glenn). Ultimately "Vertical Limit" is a film where the computer generated special effects overwhelm the cartoon characters, because there really is no reason to care for most of these fools. The visuals are stunning, the sound track loud, and the melodrama moronic. I would have thought that mountain climbing could be exciting enough without throwing a "Perils of Pauline" plot into the mix, but I guess I was wrong. Bill Paxton's billionaire Elliot Vaugh is the obvious villain in the piece, badgering exprienced climbers into going against their better judgments and continuing climbing K2 as a publicity stunt for his new airline. But in the end O'Donnell's character is no better since he insists on a rescue attempt that ends up killing way more people than it saves. Ask him why he climbed the mountain and he will tell you: "Because it was in the script."
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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