Michael Rooker Weekend – Cliffhanger (1993)

Director: Renny Harlin

Writer: Michael France, Sylvester Stallone (Screenplay) John Long (Premise)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Michael Rooker, Janine Turner, Rex Linn, Caroline Goodall, Leon, Craig Fairbrass

 

Plot: A botched mid-air heist results in suitcases full of cash being searched for by various groups throughout the Rocky Mountains.


Tagline – Hang on!

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun 90s Action Film

 

Story: Cliffhanger starts when Gabe Walker (Stallone) returns to the Rocky Mountains 8 months after a tragic event which saw his best friend Hal (Rooker) lose a girlfriend through a rescue attempt gone wrong. Gabe and Hal must put their differences aside when a distress call from a botch mid-air flight crash lands on the mountains.

Qualen (Lithgow) leads the criminals as they force Hal and Gabe to guide them to their loot, which takes them across the mountains with the only rescue team being led by Jessie (Turner) that can help them survive.

 

Thoughts on Cliffhanger

 

Characters – Gabe is known as being the best climbing around, he works on the rescues and can reach spots others wouldn’t event try to get too. After an accident he has walked away from this world, but his return is just in time as he needs to navigate the mountains to say ahead of the criminals searching for their money, picking them off one by one. Qualen is the leader of the criminals, he has a plan which would make him rich and money is the only thing that matters to him. Hal is the old friend of Gabe’s, he blames him for the accident and ends up becoming the reluctant guide for the criminals, using his knowledge to slow them down. Jessie is the final member of the search and rescue team who is working with Gabe to get ahead of the criminals, only her position makes for an extra problem for Gabe. The rest of the criminals fill in the generic roles, the British henchman, the pilot, the lover and the one with pride in a kill.

PerformancesSylvester Stallone was the prime example of one of the best action stars in the early 90s, this movie shows why because his one-liner deliver is on point and the physical side of the performance showed he was read for the role. John Lithgow as a villain is one of the easiest choice we see, he shines in this role which will make you just hate him. Michael Rooker in the good guy with a grudge role does work well too with Janine Turner filling out the main cast doing the best she can with her own character.

StoryThe story here is simple, two rescue mountain rangers are tricked into helping a group of criminals that have seen their heist go wrong and need to locate their money. This is as simple as it sounds, we never try to over complicate anything going on in this film, it is good guys versus bad guys on a mountain which adds to the peril, we have a small sub story about Gabe and Hal needing to put an accident behind them, which does work as they  must work together instead of just fighting or blaming each other. While we can work out how this will happen and we do get plenty of one-liners this all works for a 90s action film.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is strong, we focus on different fight, explosions and just difficulties of being that high up in the middle of a battle for survival, which does play into the adventure elements as this takes the characters on an unlikely journey to try and collect money.

SettingsThe film keeps the whole film on the mountain range, it shows just how difficult it would be to just escape and how knowing the lay of land the climbers have the advantage.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just how capable the villains are to do all the mountaineering.

Final ThoughtsThis is a typical fun 90s action film, it will entertain the audience and gives us plenty of one-liners to laugh at.

 

Overall: 90s action through and through.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – F – Firewalker (1986) Movie Rob’s selection

This is Movie Rob’s selection, head over to his site to read his thousands of reviews

“FRUITCAKE? FRUITCAKE? Listen Bucko, I happen to be a highly educated, intelligent girl with an I.Q. that would put you pea-brain in the cellar. So remember, If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t be here. Call me for dinner.” – Patricia

Number of Times Seen – 1 (3 Apr 2019)

Brief Synopsis – Two adventurers are hired to try and find a long treasure hidden deep in South America.

My Take on it – AS my second choice for this challenge, I decided to go with a film that I had never seen before and after watching it, I can safely say that this will probably be the sole time that I ever watch this film because it is so bad.

To call this film an action film is a huge overstatement and it feels as if they were just trying to cash in on the success of the Indiana Jones films and wanted to give us a similarly themed film, but unfortunately, this doesn’t work on any level.

The fact that Chuck Norris and Louis Gosset Jr. star in this film gave me some hope that this might have some fun martial arts sequences, but the best we could get here are a few bar room brawls where Gosset is able to do more damage than Norris who is a martial arts expert.

They never manage to develop the characters to more than a superficial level and that hurts this film so much.

I’ve always been a HUGE fan of Sonny Landham especially his roles in 48 Hrs (1982) and in Predator (1987), but he is an atrocious villain here and doesn’t do much more than grunt his way through the film.

To top it all off, they try to make this movie feel even more like and Indiana Jones movie by adding John Rhys-Davies as a sidekick, but even that ploy can’t help save this disaster.

Bottom Line – Terrible action film that feels like a cheap imitation of an Indiana Jones film that doesn’t work on any level. The characters are developed quite poorly and even with the likes of Norris and Gosset Jr. nothing could help save this horrendous film. The story plays out in a very silly way and the only real action in this film is a few brawls in bars where surprisingly Gosset does more damage than the martial arts expert Norris. I’ve always been a big fan of Sonny Landham who was great in both 48 Hrs (1982) and in Predator (1987), but he is an atrocious villain in this film and even his grunting is annoying the whole way through.  In order to make it seem like another Indy film, they even recruited Rhys-Davies as a sidekick but he also doesn’t manage to be of any real help here.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Chuck Norris and Louis Gossett, Jr. have their stars back to back on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (From IMDB)

Rating – Razzie Worthy (2/10)

ABC Film Challenge – Action – F – First Kill (2017)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Nick Gordon (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Hayden Christensen, Ty Shelton, Megan Leonard, Gethin Anthony, William DeMeo, Deb G Girdler

 

Plot: A Wall Street broker is forced to evade a police chief investigating a bank robbery as he attempts to recover the stolen money in exchange for his son’s life.


Tagline – When you only have one shot, don’t miss.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Heist Gone Wrong Film

 

Story: First Kill starts as Wall Street broker Will (Christensen) decides to take his bullied son Danny (Shelton) on a hunting trip back in his own home town with his wife Laura (Leonard). The trip takes a sudden twist then Will and Danny stumble upon the bank thieves that hidden the money, force to take action Will must defend his son.

When Danny is kidnapped by one of the bank robbers, Will must use his experience of the land to locate the missing bank money and save his son, while eluding police chief Howell (Willis).

 

Thoughts on First Kill

 

Characters – Will is a big time Wall Street broker that takes his son back to his home town to try and make him stronger for the world, he knows how to survive in the woods and is forced to elude the cops to save his son, this whole movie is about his stupid decision. Howell is the police chief that knows Will from his childhood, he knows he is lying but doesn’t know who to trust. Laura is the wife and a doctor, that is her purpose in this movie, she doesn’t offer anything to the action sequences. Danny is the son that is kidnapped, he knows that he is in danger and tries his best to befriend his kidnappers.

PerformancesHayden Christensen is an actor that has been treated very unfairly in the acting world, he is the best part of this film, showing he is better than people give him credit for. Bruce Willis on the over hand is continuing his pay check level of performances where we could have gotten someone who actually cared about being in a film for less and to give a better performance. The rest of the cast are fine but don’t do too much to raise the level of this film.

StoryThe story follows one man that gets caught in the middle of bank heist gone wrong, forced to make difficult decisions to save his son from the robbers. There is a side story of Will wanting to teach his son a few life lessons before the events unfold, but strangely it is the kidnapper that teaches him more about life than his own dad. The story is a play by play of trying to throw twists into a story of an old town to whom someone returns to with secrets and past connections, we don’t find ourselves overly invested in the story after the poor decision Will makes early on in the film.

Action/CrimeThe action in this film is tame to say the least, it doesn’t do too much other than overly lengthy build to short shoot outs, the crime side of the film follows more of the aftermath of the crime that has happened.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town and mostly in the woods, this shows how people will be tempted to break the law and believe they can get away with things in the woods.


Scene of the Movie –
The first kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Will’s decision making is beyond stupid.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the books heist film gone wrong with an innocent man thrown into the middle of everything. it does bring Hayden Christensen back in the spotlight, though his performances can’t help the rest of the film.

 

Overall: Been here, seen this done better.

Rating