ABC Film Challenge – Action – V – Vertical Limit (2000)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Robert King, Terry Hayes (Screenplay) Robert King (Story)

Starring: Chris O’Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn, Temuera Morrison, Ben Mendelsohn, Alexander Siddig, Izabella Scorupco


Plot: A climber must rescue his sister on top of K2, one of the world’s biggest mountains.

Tagline – Hold Your Breath

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Edge of your Seat Thriller


Story: Vertical Limit starts with the personal climb tragedy that Peter (O’Donnell) and Annie (Tunney) go through, the siblings go their separate ways, three years later work brings them back together on K2, as Annie is part of billionaire Elliot Vaughn’s (Paxton) team planning to climb to the top for an advertising opportunity.

When the weather turns, the crew on the mountain gets thrown into a cave in the middle of the mountain with no escape, Peter will now lead a team to rescue his sister in a race against time and the weather.


Thoughts on Vertical Limit


Characters – Peter is the brother of Annie, he had to make a difficult decision which led to his father’s death becoming distant from his sister in the process, now a wildlife photographer in extreme conditions which reunites them on K2, when she becomes trapped, Peter puts together a team to rescue her before it is too late. Annie is the sister and just as experienced climber ass Peter, she works on K2 for the billionaire that arranges tours, she has records on climbing the mountain too. She is on the team which gets trapped on the mountain, needing to remain in control while the rest look to survive. Montgomery Wick is the expert climber that has spent years searching for his lost wife on the mountain, he doesn’t work with others unless it is a rescue mission, he will get Peter to his location at the quickest pace. Elliot Vaughn is the billionaire that climbs for money, this expedition is planned as a marketing campaign for his new airline, he doesn’t care about lives as much as the other people on the mountain.

PerformancesChris O’Donnell in the leading role is good, he shows the knowledge while the innocent panic one would have while trying to save a loved one, Robin Tunney shows the strength needed for her part spending most of the film opposite Paxton who once again showed why he could become any role in a film. Scott Glenn gets the strongest scenes because of his outside persona created by his character, which does need a moment of emotional strength.

StoryThe story here follows sibling mountain climbers that have become distant after a tragedy, now one must rescue the other one on one of the most dangerous mountains in the world K2. This is a survivor story which shows how dangerous in the first-place mountain climbing is and just how much more dangerous rescue mission can be. Each character in the film has their own reason for being on the mountain which gives us a reason to follow and support each character through the mission, though this does end up feeling strange when we see what happens to most of the rescue team. For the most part this is a simple to follow story that does the directions most survival movies go without needing to make anything complicated, showing us the good and bad in people.

Action/AdventureThe action sequences in this film are fantastic, clearly the highlight of the film, we see the climbers hanging on for dear life, avalanches and explosion which the teams must survive, which plays into the adventure of climbing one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.

SettingsThe settings in the film only make this more breath-taking, the views from the mountain, mixed with the locations the people are trapped or climbing show us just how dangerous this is.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak though, we have one moment with a helicopter where you can almost make out that it is shaking like a rodeo machine.

Scene of the Movie –
Learning about the explosives in the sun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The forced foreshadowing from the opening sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable survival movie which will grab to the edge of your seat from the moment things go wrong until the gripping conclusion.


Overall: Survival Film at its best.




Submergence (2018)

Director: Wim Wenders

Writer: Erin Dignam (Screenplay) J.M Ledgard (Novel)

Starring: Alicia Vikander, James McAvoy, Alexander Siddig, Jannik Schumann, Reda KAteb, Celyn Jones, Jess Liaudin, Mohamed Hakeemshady


Plot: In a room with no windows on the eastern coast of Africa, a Scotsman, James More, is held captive by jihadist fighters. Thousands of miles away in the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders prepares to dive in a submersible to the ocean floor. In their confines they are drawn back to the Christmas of the previous year, where a chance encounter on a beach in France led to an intense and enduring romance.

Tagline – Love Has No Limits

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Powerful Love Story


Story: Submergence starts as Danielle Flinders (Vikander) is preparing for her submersible dive of the coast of Greenland, she has lost contact to the man she fell in love with James More (McAvoy) who unbeknown to her has been captured in Africa by Jihadist fighters.

James is using the memory of the Christmas the two met in France to keep him going in hope of freedom, while Danielle faces her fears of what could go wrong in her dive. We are left to see how their love keeps them both strong and broken in the world where they are 1000s of miles apart.



Thoughts on Submergence


Characters – Danielle Flinders has been using her mathematic formulas to understand the deepest part of the oceans believing one day the world will run out of oxygen and that the deepest part of the ocean could hold the answers. She doesn’t connect with people on a personal level until James comes along breaking down those walls. James More is a Scottish man working in Africa for a water company, trying to bring clean water to the remote parts of the country, he is captured by the Jihadist fighters, he keeps his relationship with Danielle as his only motivation for survival. We do meet other characters that the two interact with who helps show the predicament the two are facing.

PerformancesAlicia Vikander is always great in a drama, she has the ability to morph into many characters from different fields and times, this is no different as you truly understand her struggle. James McAvoy is great to as we see him almost play two different characters, the one that is confident and in love and the one being broken.

StoryThe story here shows us how two people on very different career paths from different sides of the world can meet and fall in love for a split second and use this to motivate them to survive and complete their goals. The meeting side of everything is nice enough we have seen it before and it works for the film fine, it is the part of the story where they are apart which interests most. Seeing Danielle facing the biggest moment of her career, the moment she has waited for, for years, but feeling broken because she can’t contact James shows her conflict, while James is facing potential death with no one to call for help using his inspiration of love for Danielle to keep him going, these two elements of the film keep us going.

Romance/ThrillerThe love the two characters feel for each other feels real, the separation they are feeling with no clue how the other one is feeling is how love can be at times and to keep us guessing to what will happen at the end is what keeps us enjoying till the end.

SettingsThe film uses the settings very well, the have the beauty of the French coastline for the meeting between the two and using the contrast of the open spaces both enjoy in their different location with the tight prisons they are both facing is very interesting to see and used perfectly.

Scene of the Movie –
The island trip Danielle takes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The final act with James.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful look at how love can affect a person from the first time you meet someone, to how it will give you hope, motivation and fear when it comes to where you could find yourself in the world.


Overall: Wonderful study on love and careers




Matthew McConaughey Weekend – Reign of Fire (2002)

reignDirector: Rob Bowman

Writer: Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka, Matt Greenberg (Screenplay) Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka (Story)

Starring: Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Izabella Scorupco, Gerard Butler, Scott Moutter, David Kennedy, Alexander Siddig


Plot: A brood of fire-breathing dragons emerges from the earth and begins setting everything ablaze, establishing dominance over the planet.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fire Breathingly Good


Story: Reign of Fire starts when dragons come back from beyond the grave taking over the Earth once more and in the year 2020 Quinn (Bale) keeps a small group of survivor’s safe underground from the dragons with his trusted best friend Creedy (Butler).

When the times are getting tough a squad of American soldiers led by Denton Van Zan (McConaughey) who have been hunting dragons arrive on the scene and with the new information and weaponry we could see the end of the dragon problem the world is facing.

Reign of Fire takes us into a battle between humans and dragons and the dragons are winning this one at the moment. This is what the story is really about how the humans will need to fight back to win this one and continue in this world. We have seen this used in the alien genre and this one brings fresh breath to the idea that it is the dragons a creature of mystery that could be the threat. Everything is easy to watch without really challenging us.


Actor Review


Christian Bale: Quinn was the first person to see a dragon as a young boy and after luckily escaping he now leads a group of survivors who are just looking to survive the dragon controlled world. He thinks he always knows best and doesn’t want to risk anything in making the dragon numbers decrease. Christian is good in this role where he gets to see him as the hero of the piece.

Matthew McConaughey: Denton Van Zan is an American soldier who has been hunting dragons with his squad but knows the numbers are getting smaller on the human side, he wants to end the dragons once and for all and pushes Quinn into helping. Matthew plays a character fully out of character for himself where he does a good job in this role.

Izabella Scorupco: Alex is the pilot on Denton’s team she has learnt that there could only be one male dragon and killing this dragon could mean winning the war. Izabelle is solid in this role but doesn’t have that one scene for impact.

Gerard Butler: Creedy is the loyal friend to Quinn who has helped keep the community safe when Quinn let things get out of hand. He keeps the kids safe but isn’t the strongest in combat. Gerard is solid in this supporting role where he could easily be the lead if this was made now.

Support Cast: Reign of Fire has a supporting cast that doesn’t really offer too much to the main story with most just being introduced to die or give a few words of encouragement to Quinn.

Director Review: Rob BowmanRob gives us what I would like to consider a bit of a forgotten gem in the sci-fi fantasy genre.


Action: Reign of Fire has breath-taking action sequence when it comes to fighting the dragons.

Fantasy: Reign of Fire puts us square in the middle of a world where dragons are real and have taken over the world, bringing a fantasy character back from the land of myths.

Sci-Fi: Reign of Fire shows a world destroyed by an enemy the humans couldn’t fight without having to deal with destruction.

Settings: Reign of Fire has settings which looks like that have all be destroyed by fire during the war.
Special Effects
: Reign of Fire has great effects when it comes to the dragon attacks even if we do have a couple of moments that have dated the attacks look terrifying.

Suggestion: Reign of Fire is one for all the sci-fi fantasy fans to go back and visit. (Watch)


Best Part: Dragon attacks.

Worst Part: Denton’s actions are at times strange.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $60 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: They’re extremely intelligent. Highly evolved. And they don’t like sharing the planet.


Overall: Enjoyable dragon based ci-fi fantasy.




Inescapable (2012)

logoDirector: Ruba Nadda

Writer: Ruba Nadda (Screenplay)

Starring: Alexander Siddig, Joshua Jackson, Marisa Tomei, Oded Fehr, Saar Siddiqui, Fadia Nadda, Bonnie Lee Bouman


Plot: Years after he left Damascus under suspicious circumstances, Adib Abdel Kareem must confront what he left behind when his daughter goes missing.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Very Slow


Story: Inescapable start by introducing us to Adib (Siddig) living in Toronto in 2011 showing off his tricks he learnt in a former life. When a personal friend comes bearing bad news about Muna his daughter who has been looking into Adib’s past. Adib wants to find out more about why she went to Damascus. Adib is former military intelligence agent who escaped his previous life.

Adib uses his former connection Fatima (Tomei) to get him into Syria and getting across the border will be the first of his tasks. Adib learns that his leaving didn’t just affect him but hurt the people he loved and his search for his daughter brings him to the Canadian Embassy meeting Paul (Jackson) a man who wants to help but questions how Adib got there so fast. Adib goes to meet an old friend Sayid (Fehr) for information about his missing daughter. Adib finds out that his daughter has got herself stuck in the middle of a wed of conspiracy through the country.

Inescapable sounds on paper like it could be a very good action packed thriller, in the end we get a slow moving talk fest. It is hard to find anything good about this film other than the concept being good, it is put together to roll out very slow and never gives us a chance to be pulled in to suspect any of the support characters and even by the end I don’t really know what happened. This one will easily be forgotten and you can see why it took so long to get released. (3/10)


Actor Review


Alexander Siddig: Adib ex military agent who goes into Syria to look for his daughter who has been kidnapped where he must face up to his former life that he has been away from for 20 years. Alexander struggles to make an impact in the leading role. (4/10)


Joshua Jackson: Paul the Canadian embassy employee who has a connection to the missing daughter but tries to help once he learns he is missing. Joshua doesn’t bring anything to the party remotely interesting. (3/10)


Marisa Tomei: Fatima old connection and old flame that helps Adib get into the country but still hasn’t forgiven him for leaving. Marisa has an Oscar right? What happened to her? (3/10)


Oded Fehr: Sayid colonel and old friend of Adib who knows the truth but has risen to power in the country. Oded looks the part of a potential villain but there isn’t enough introduced to make us care if he is or not. (3/10)


Support Cast: Inescapable has a supporting cast that is full of people trying to stop Adib and a few helping him it gets confusing to who was helping who really.


Director Review: Ruba Nadda – Ruba struggles to put this together to make it interesting at all. (2/10)


Mystery: Inescapable does give us a mystery to try and solve but in the end not enough to make us interested. (5/10)

Thriller: Inescapable should really be an edge of your seat film, simple put it isn’t. (3/10)

Settings: Inescapable uses the settings well to show the perils of something so simple in a secretive country. (8/10)

Suggestion: Inescapable is one to miss, I don’t think many people will enjoy it that much at all. (Skip It)


Best Part: Hard to pick anything.

Worst Part: So Slow


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Please no

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $4 Million (CAD)

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

Tagline: You can never escape your past.


Overall: This is so slow moving it just doesn’t pull you in at all.

Rating 20

Doomsday (2008)

Director: Neil Marshall
Writer: Neil Marshall
Starring: Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins, Alexander Siddig, David O’Hara, Adrian Lester, Malcolm McDowell
Story A virus has caused the whole of Scotland to be boarded off, the people inside left to fend for themselves. Scotland is forgotten by people. Years pasted by and now in 2035 the virus has appeared in London. Prime Minister John Hatcher (Siddig) organises a secret mission into Scotland where people have some how survived all these years. Most importantly they are looking for a Doctor who was involved with the release of the virus and believe he will have a cure.
Eden Sinclair (Mitra) leads a team of military experts across the boarder. The teams leader is Norton (Lester) travelling in the last two remain armoured trucks they set out on their mission. On their mission they find a full range of characters some good, some bad. Will they be able to make it out with the cure before London gets boarded up?
Verdict This almost post apocalyptic has a feel of a mixture of a few different movies from Mad Max to 28 Days Later. Some of the villains are interesting even though they are not original while the lead heroine is a bit stereotyped. Seeing how people might react to the scenario leaves you to question what you might do if something similar was to occur. Some of the character development isn’t as good as it should have been and we only learn little back-story on our main heroine. Overall it is good watch for any fans of the genre and even though it’s not the most original it keeps you interested all the way through.   
Story Mark 9/10 Good idea and comes off well strong story
Action Mark 8/10 Lots of chases, fights and gunfights
Special Effects Mark 9/10
Star Performances David O’Hara – as the advisor to the Prime Minister
Best Part Some of the action scenes
Worst Part Poor character development
Similar Too – Mad Max, 28 Days Later
My Rating  72%