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.
Performances – Sylvester 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.
Story – The 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/Adventure – The 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.
Settings – The 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.
Final Thoughts – This 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.