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

 

 

Breakdown (2016)

Director: Jonnie Malachi

Writer: Jonnie Malachi (Screenplay)

Starring: Craig Fairbrass, Emmett J Scanlan, James Cosmo, Mem Ferda, Tamer Hassan, Olivia Grant, Bruce Payne

 

Plot: A professional contract killer, haunted by visions of his violent past, spirals out of control. His work compromised as he reaches breaking point, he is forced to defend his family from his ruthless employers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burning Crime Thriller

 

Story: Breakdown starts as we see how contract killer Alfie (Fairbrass) starts getting visions of his previous kills, this compromises his life and family time when he shows this weakness on front of his boss Albert (Cosmo).

Needing to prove himself to Albert and one of the best clients they have Iraz (Hassan), Alfie must complete a cold-hearted execution on his daughter’s 16th birthday. The test is just the beginning as Alfie wants out of the crime life but his boss isn’t as happy to let him go.

 

Thoughts on Breakdown

 

Characters – Alfie is the contract killer and family man, he has balanced the two lives well but now he starts to get nightmare visions of his previous kills, Alfie now wants out and his family is the reason that he must go through on final mission to kill to end the threat to them. Connor is the partner of Alfie, he is younger and seems to have learnt from Alfie over the years. Albert is the crime boss living in a mansion turning to the few men he trusts for the more difficult jobs.

PerformanceCraig Fairbrass is fine in the leading role working around his weaknesses to look the part, Emmett makes for a good partner in crime but doesn’t shine the way he could have and James Cosmo is good as the gang leader.

StoryThe story is a tried and tested formula, hit man wants out of the business but the boss won’t let him, this time we do get a slight twist on why he wants out but otherwise this doesn’t offer too much on the fresh side.

ThrillerThe film does try to keep you on the edge of the seat but the slow pacing holds everything back for the most part.

SettingsWe have the settings that you would have come to expect as we see the two lives the kill works in, but no iconic scenes to be had here.

Special EffectsThe effects are used for the most part in the visions side of things and are fine when they are used.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the books hitman wanting out of the business film that doesn’t offer enough fresh but is still going to be enjoyed by the fans of the genre.

 

Overall: By the book crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

White Noise : The Light (2007)

logoDirector: Patrick Lussier

Writer: Matt Venne (Screenplay)

Starring: Nathan Fillion, Katee Sackhoff, Craig Fairbrass, Adrian Holmes, Kendall Cross, Teryl Rothery, William MacDonald

 

Plot: When Abe Dale’s (Fillion) family is murdered right in front of his eyes he starts to question his life. Abe tries to kill himself and see the white light but is bought back to life. He returns with a new gift, the ability to see when someone’s number is up. He decides to use this new gift to start trying to save people’s lives but it comes at a cost.

 

The light Abe sees around people

The light Abe sees around people

Verdict: Horror thriller that ups the level from the original

Story: This builds on the basic EVP ideas in the first film by taking what we see that character struggle to learn and give it instantly to our new hero. It keeps the idea of our hero suffering from a tragedy in their life. It also keeps the warning of not to mess with the supernatural as the consequences will be worse. (8/10)

 

Actor Review: Nathan Fillion – Abe who gains and uses the gift to see when people are about to die. Nathan packs up his loveable friendly character we are all very used to seeing and gives us a darker character who struggles with tough decisions in his life after what happens. (8/10)

 abe

Actor Review: Katee Sackhoff – Sherry a nurse whose life that Abe saves and has also had a loss of a loved one. Good supporting role help Abe show more emotion but in the end doesn’t get enough screen time to be as important to Abe as she should be. (7/10)

katee

Director Review: Patrick Lussier – Creates some good jump scares which add to the story some we see coming some we don’t. (8/10)

 

Horror: Good horror uses more ghosts and jumps to give the audience something to be scared about. (8/10)

The ghosts haunting Abe

The ghosts haunting Abe

Thriller: More thrilling that the first and each build up is to what will happen all come off very well. (7/10)

Special Effects: Some good special effects, usually ghosts jumping out of nowhere to good effect. (8/10)

Believability: A bit more farfetched than the original by not just tapping into communicating with the dead it is more about controlling who might die. (3/10)

Chances of Tears: Some people may but it is unlikely. (2/10)

Settings: Like the original this one tries to keep all its events to an everyday setting which leads to a form of realism to the events what occur to the characters and add to the idea people could die with something as simple as the next step. (8/10)

 

Suggestion: I would suggest this film to the horror audience out there but gore fans need look somewhere else. The use of more jumps and ghosts may also take away the more casual non-horror fans out the picture. Sci-Fi favourites Nathan Fillion and Katee Sackhoff should both add more viewers though. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The idea Abe could save people.

Worst Part: That saving people causes more damage.

Favourite Quote: Henry Caine ‘And on the third day.. Christ rose again… but what about the devil?’

Trivia: Abe and Sherry go to a bar called O’Malley’s which is the same name is as the one used in Nathan Fillion’s sitcom Two Guys and a Girl.

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: Hasn’t had one yet, could be a good franchise but need another idea with this being a different story than the original.

Similar Too: White Noise

 

Overall: Great follow up adds more to the story and gives the film a better horror atmosphere.

 

Rating 81