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

 

 

Solace (2015)

solaceDirector: Afonso Poyart

Writer: Sean Bailey, Ted Griffin (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Colin Farrell, Abbie Cornish, Anthony Hopkins, Xander Berkeley, Marley Shelton, Janine Turner, Kenny Johnson

 

Plot: A psychic works with the FBI in order to hunt down a serial killer.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Many False Moments

 

Story: Solace starts with Agents Merriweather (Morgan) & Cowles (Cornish) dealing with a serial killer that has strike before, Joe wants to bring in a specialist against his partners wishes, a psychic John Clancy (Hopkins). John has been out of the game after the tragic death of his daughter but his friendship with Joe pushes him into looking into this latest case.

As the three investigate the serial killer they learn the shocking truth that he can see into the future and he has been selecting his victims from people that have terminal illnesses that he puts out of their misery.

Solace is a cat and mouse film that has psychic versus psychic but we spend large portions of this film flashing between what has happened and what could happen to the characters involved. It all becomes very messy to start with, the next problem is that we have to deal with the fact we only meet the killer very late on in the film. On the positives we get a very interesting moral question about whether we could deal with watching or going through the suffering terminal illness causes and if we would want it over quickly. This will end up disappointing in the mystery thriller side of the story but morally it is a good film.

 

Actor Review

 

Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Agent Joe Merriweather is the lead in the partnership that wants to bring in his psychic John Clancy, a man he has worked with before who help solve multiply cases in the past. He a family man that became close with John during their time working together and considered him a close friend, but he is hiding something from his friends, family but John can see it. Jeffrey is good in this role even though he really just looks like a standard FBI agent.

Colin Farrell: Charles Ambrose is the serial killer who believes he is putting people out of their own misery through quick painless death before they end up having to suffer from a terminal illness. He can see how anyone is going to die and uses this his psychic abilities to make his decisions. Colin is good as this character but we don’t meet him until too late in the film.

Abbie Cornish: Agent Katherine Cowles is the partner to Joe, she is a trained psychological doctor who doesn’t believe in psychics which creates a clash between her and John. She has to put her differences a side without putting John’s methods to shame to try and uncover the answers to who is the killer. Abbie is good but the reality is she is just a basic FBI agent.

Anthony Hopkins: John Clancy is a psychic who works with FBI before giving up everything when his daughter dies. When this newest case comes his way he finds himself tracking a new serial killer that offers him a question of whether he would have wanted his daughter to suffer from her terminal illness or not. Anthony feels kind of out of place in this one where he is good in certain scene but almost looks tired in other scenes.

Support Cast: Solace has a supporting cast that all works for where this film is going without being too involved with the final outcome of the story.

Director Review: Afonso PoyartAfonso gives us a film that is filled with flashbacks or flash-forwards which gets mixed up with the story which is also a run of the mill cat and mouse chase.

 

Mystery: Solace makes us wonder about the serial killer but never offers us enough to investigate as a viewer.

Thriller: Solace doesn’t even keep us guessing until the like a film like this is meant to be.

Settings: Solace doesn’t seem to create any special when it comes to locations being used.
Special Effects
: Solace has solid effects to show the flashbacks and flash-forwards in what could happen.

Suggestion: Solace is one to try but don’t expect to see too much special in this one. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Moral question being asked.

Worst Part: Not enough of the Killer.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Trivia: The script for this movie was originally picked up by New Line Cinema, with the intention to rewrite it as a sequel to Se7en (1995), tentatively titled Ei8ht. The main character was supposed to be Se7en’s Detective William Somerset who had acquired psychic powers. This idea was dropped after Se7en director David Fincher reacted negatively to the idea, after which it was produced as a stand-alone film.

 

Overall: Lacklustre mystery thriller that doesn’t get into the action quick enough.

Ratingcard