Vertical Limit
USA, Germany
Drama, Thriller, Action, Adventure
IMDB rating:
Martin Campbell
Chris O'Donnell as Peter Garrett
Robin Tunney as Annie Garrett
Stuart Wilson as Royce Garrett
Augie Davis as Aziz
Temuera Morrison as Major Rasul
Roshan Seth as Colonel Amir Salim
Alejandro Valdes-Rochin as Sergeant Asim
Nicholas Lea as Tom McLaren
Rod Brown as Ali Hasan
Scott Glenn as Montgomery Wick
Steve Le Marquand as Cyril Bench
Ben Mendelsohn as Malcolm Bench
Izabella Scorupco as Monique Aubertine
Bill Paxton as Elliot Vaughn
Storyline: A high-adrenaline tale of young climber Peter Garrett, who must launch a treacherous and extraordinary rescue effort up K2, the world's second highest peak. Confronting both his own limitations and the awesome power of nature's uncontrollable elements, Peter risks his life to save his sister, Annie, and her summit team in a race against time. The team is trapped in an icy grave at 26,000 feet - a death zone above the vertical limit of endurance where the human body cannot survive for long. Every second counts as Peter enlists the help of a crew of fellow climbers, including eccentric, reclusive mountain man Montgomery Wick, to ascend the chilling might of the world's most feared peak to save her.
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Comments from a real climber
Having climbed in the Andes, Tian Shan, St. Elias and other

mountain ranges across the planet, I was often asked what I

thought of this movie, and it's accuracy.

This is, without doubt, the least accurate film on climbing I have

ever seen. This movie is simply absurd. I consider it about as

"accurate" as, say, Spy Kids is to global espionage.

In addition to the gaffs pointed out, I wanted to state what was

most amusing to me: Inside the crevasse, the climbers ice tools

bounce off the crevasse walls like they're made out of solid steel

(and 'ping' just like it). But when Chris O'Donnall does his full

sprint (at altitude!) and huge leap across a cavernous abyss, he

drives his ice tools into the other side - made of solid rock - and

sticks like Spiderman. The film is filled with many other absurd

implausabilities that insult the sport it manipulates in the guise of


Aside from that, as so many others have noted, the movie is

simple minded action. If you don't mind laughing at much of it, and

don't for a moment think it represents realistic climbing, leave your

brain at the door and you might have some fun. But most people

will just find it absurd rubbish.
After Proof of life, this felt like a masterpiece...
===== Rating System: ***** Must see **** Very good *** I liked it, but you might hate it ** I hated it, but you might like it * Avoid ====

If you can forgive this movie for its undeniable flaws, it's actually pretty enjoyable. If you don't mind

-A ridiculously fake eagle at the beginning, which is unintentionally hilarious

-People taking nitroglycerine up a mountain, only for it to explode several times for no apparent reason but spectacle

-An ending which makes the whole movie seem pointless (It's a rescue mission, after 24 hours of climbing and victims and rescuers half dead, suddenly they're down and safe again with no explanation whatsoever)

then you're in for a 120 minute thrill ride with great action sequences, some amazing stunts and a couple of funny moments. If you take it too seriously it is probably the worst movie you'll ever see.


Someone should burn the film this movie was made on
If you enjoy seeing a good action film, without having to listen to the sounds of snores and groans from the audience around you, DO NOT see this movie. This movie might be passible if they were intentionally trying to make a spoof. Sadly though, they actually expect people to take this movie seriously. In short, the writing is bad, the characters are shallow, the plot is obvious and pointless, and the action is laughable. You'll leave the theater nauseous and $5-10 dollars worse off. Buy a V-8 instead.
definitely worth the watch
Vertical Limit first caught my attention with its trailer, and from the looks of it, I thought this would definitely be one exciting film. I was not disappointed. It was a roller coaster ride from start to finish. Although some parts were predictable, I found that my heart still jumped when it happened. Not only were the action/disaster scenes intense, but the whole story made me feel the character's fears, and the cold. This is not "get into big trouble and get pulled out quickly." This is "get into big trouble, then get into bigger trouble, and then into complete disaster, and maybe they can get out of it." I, along with the audience cringed and jumped quite a few times and came out with white knuckles. The bottom line is, if you want to see a thrilling adventure, this is it.
Your disbelief may reach it's Tolerance Limit
Your disbelief may reach it's tolerance limit in this latest entry in the `How much stupid action sequences can we cram into 2 hours' school of film making. This one really stretches credibility! How many `cut the rope before we all die' scenes can you take in one movie? Possibly one of the worst movies of all time. Ed (Wood) come back, all is forgiven!
An avalanche too far...
I saw this movie in Austria at a 'Sneak Preview' in English one evening when I had nothing else to do. As it turns out almost anything else would have been better to do. It was a waste of time. Why? Because it is totally unbelievable from beginning to end. It has a ridiculous plot, poor acting, unbelievable scenes and a predictable story. It has a dramatic start, but quickly becomes boringly repetitive. Climbers all outfitted with enough nitro to level a building? Sudden gross ineptitude by the commando leader leading to the entire lot blowing up? And what about our hero leaping for faith across a 100 foot chasm and landing on the far side clinging to a vertical wall? This is easily one of the worst action films I've ever seen for the simple reason that it insults everyone -- the viewer, the actors, the climbing profession and our collective intelligence. Those who like this movie are strictly suckers for 'eye candy' and grand effects. Sorry, they don't replace a hopeless movie. Save your money...almost anything else is better...
Jesus, who the hell optioned this???
At this moment in time, there must some Columbia studio exec. rubbing their hands with glee, because they have managed to sell ice to the eskimos...H.L. Mencken once said, no one ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of the American public. I would add a codicil to that and add the British audience too.

My god what was this?

A film that finally proves that O'Donnell cannot act his way out of a paper bag, that Tunney looks great in climbing wear but looks like an actress trying to play a climber and Scott Glenn phoning in his usual performance as Mr World-Weary. Add Bill Paxton as the murderous millionaire (aren't they all), a stunning piece of miscasting with Temeura Morrison (a Maori) playing a Pakistani with a New Zealand accent and the standard comic relief Aussies and what you have is a real crock of a movie. Even the stunning photography (and it is stunning) cannot save a movie based on cliche and one-dimensional characterisation.

Ludicrous writing too. For example, just how did the Izabella Scorupco character get across that ravine after the O'Donnell character leapt across it Superman style. He leaps across, hangs on for dear life, cuts to another scene and hey presto, Scorupco is there with him. What did she do, levitate across??? Who was the consultant on this film, David Copperfield?

If you want a man-in-peril-on-the-mountains movie stick to Stallone with Cliffhanger. Avoid this at your peril.
Producers seem to have to put some effort into making a good movie about mountaineering, but some goofs are just too hard to overlook, even from the point of view of a novice climber who never was within a thousand miles of K2.

Your sense of incredulity should spike up from the first scene, which depends crucially on the idea that the key character, a seasoned mountaineer, somehow does not have a knife on him mid-climb.

Assorted similar goofs go on and on. A mountaineer who walks around near the edge of a precipice without her backpack, all the while waving around her ice axe as if it weren't the primary tool intended to save her life in case of a fall. A different mountaineer who does not appear to make any effort at self-arrest (other than a lot of yelling) when he slips and starts sliding on a glacier. There are many examples.

Here's the main problem. Why is it that, in real life, you can't take a bunch of people from K2 base camp and tell them to fetch some distressed hikers at 26,000 feet? The answer is "lack of altitude acclimatization". In other words, these people would basically lie down and refuse to move (or at least come down with a severe case of altitude sickness, including headache, dizziness, and vomiting) about halfway up. But that wouldn't make for such a dramatic movie, would it? So we need to play down that angle, and instead work on some external dangers. Like the need to carry some canisters of extremely volatile nitroglycerin to the top of the mountain. (Of course, its extreme volatility is the primary reason why not a single military in the world actually uses the stuff - nor did for the last 100 years. At the very least, they'd use sawdust soaked with nitroglycerin, better known as "dynamite" because it's way easier to handle.)
Vertical Limit - an adrenalin rush for some
I know the experts have said how terrible this film was in regards to realism, but since I'm not a climber, I'm rating it on excitement level.

Vertical Limit is certainly an exciting film. I caught myself forgetting to breathe at many points throughout the film. It starts in the past, somewhere in the United States' Southwest. Here we see a father and his son and daughter climbing a vertical rock. An accident takes the life of the father and sets us up for the events that take place years later in the main part of the film.

Unless you are a climber and insist on an accurate depiction of the sport, I recommend this film for pure adrenalin rush.

Also, the scenery is absolutely some of the most beautiful in the world. It ALMOST makes me want to go climb a mountain (not really quite though).

Fans of Alexander Siddig (previously known as Siddig El Fadil) will want to watch this movie whether they are interested in climbing or not. He plays Pakistani crew-member Kareem, and yes, this film is set in Pakistan as they are supposedly climbing K2 in the Himalayas, but most of the movie is actually filmed in New Zealand. Only a few sequences were actually filmed in Pakistan (for "backgrounds").
Oh boy...
"Vertical Limit" is one of those movies of which the makers seem to think that they can get away with anything, just as long as it's packaged nicely.

In this case they can't. This movie is so stupid that no amount of fancy stunts and effects is going to save it. First of all, nearly all characters are supposedly experienced mountaineers, but it's clear that not a single one of them knows a thing about alpinism. Every law of physics is completely ignored, as we see people jump over huge chasms and grab hold of the other side without any kind of problems, we see nitroglycerin that gets set off by sunlight but not by people that perform all kinds of crazy jumps with the same nitro strapped to their backs and much much more. I laughed myself to death when the nitro finally exploded and created an explosion that a tactical nuclear weapon would be proud of.

All of this wouldn't be so bad if the movie didn't take itself so seriously. Going over the top with action is OK, as long as the movie knows it's over the top. Instead, we get a movie that tries to pass itself of as "realistic": we get an overly serious and cliché-ridden plot filled with boring and predictable characters. Everything is there, from the traumatic experience at the start to the obligatory love interest and the occasional comic relief in the form of two Australian hippies. Throw in some corny and melodramatic one-liners ("on this mountain you're not dying, you're already dead") and you've got an yawn-inducing two-hour soap episode that happens to be set on a mountain.

They couldn't even do the effects right...some of the shots are so clearly shot in front of a "blue screen" that it's a disgrace for a 21st century movie. In a '60s Bond film, the blue screen was charming. Nowadays, it's just sloppy.

Anyway, I could go on for a while like this but the bottom line is that "Vertical Limit" is a movie with utterly ridiculous action, huge leaps in logic, and a tired and boring plot, without offering anything to make up for that.

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