This action-packed adventure surrounds a young climber who must launch an extraordinary rescue effort up K-2, the world’s second highest peak, to save his sister and her summit team in a race against time.
Like “Twister,” the action/disaster film of a couple years ago, “Vertical Limit” gives the viewer one exciting special effect or death-defying stunt after another. It makes “Raiders of the Lost Ark” look like a subliminal relaxation video. Unfortunately, like with “Twister,” these actors are forced to utter hackneyed, contrite and embarrassing dialogue, throughout. Not that you can hear much of what’s being said. Besides the loud background noise, which occasionally drowned out the babble, three people had such thick Australian accents, I could barely understand what they were saying, even when they could be heard. Considering that two of these characters are the film’s comic relief, I’m sure their repartee would have been much funnier had I known what the heck they were saying. But then, that’s a personal thing. After our Aussie brothers instruct me to put a shrimp on the barbie, I’m lost. I’m always amazed at the effort given to make the adventurous events look life-like in these special effects extravaganzas, yet so little effort is given to character development or credibility. This film is suspenseful, often bringing on sweaty palms, but it also becomes supercilious, much like a Roadrunner cartoon. When an incident occurs at the film’s outset, a climber plummets to the earth and hits the ground with a Wily E. Coyote thud. All that was missing was the small dust cloud after the body impacted. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to cry or laugh. The silliness continues, with one disastrous event after another. If I had half as much bad luck as these folks, I sure wouldn’t attempt to climb the world’s highest peak. But the funniest moment (unintentionally) involves the embittered leader finding his long lost wife, frozen, completely intact, like a Swanson’s TV dinner. Scott Glenn plays the part, and it will take some time before he lives that scene down. If you’re into below-freezing mountain climbing, or your main interest in movie going is to be stimulated by studio effects, “Vertical Limit” may satisfy. As for me, I’d rather go to the beach. The only thing I want to climb is a sand dune.