Cliffhanger

Slyvester Stallone’s 1993 “comeback” film directed by Renny Harlin, put him back in the spotlight and increased his international appeal. Cliffhanger is high on action and low on complicated dialogue.

This movie broke the groundwork for Stallone’s projects in the 1990s which catered to international audiences.  Stateside, his movies are deemed failures if they don’t make over 100 million (this film came close).

Stallone overcame his own personal fear of heights to film the awesome climbing sequences as the astounding stuntwork constantly impresses in the exterior action sequences, set in the Rocky Mountain area. The first sequence in the film is hard to forget as the outlandish, but entertain plot spirals into some amazing situations that test every character.

Michael Rooker (Bone Collector, Guardians of the Galaxy), Janine Turner (TV’s Northern Exposure), and Ralph Waite (TV’s The Waltons) help fight these bad guys, so good can prevail.  Good plot involves an exciting mid-air heist and mountain rescue team.

John Lithgow makes an amusing turn as the ruthless, but intelligent Eric Qualen who has a team of heartless antagonists including Caroline Goodall (Schindler’s List, Disclosure) and Leon (Cool Runnings). “Don’t bother to buckle up – you may not want to survive this,” he quips to his mercenary crew. Lithgow’s slight Britsih accent is more of a distraction than an enhancement.

If you don’t have a problem with bloody violence and gore (especially in slow motion)…or heights, Cliffhanger will satisfy your entertainment needs. Recommended with reservations (**1/2 out of four stars) and rated R for violence and language.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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