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Vertical Limit (PG-13)

Official Site

Director: Martin Campbell

Producer: Lloyd Phillips, Robert King, Martin Campbell

Written by: Robert King, Terry Hayes

Cast: Chris OíDonnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn, Nicholas Lea, Izabella Scorupco

Rating: out of 5

Ah, VERTICAL LIMIT, you could have been such a fine little action movie. But, alas, you turned out to be the redheaded stepchild of the genre.

It seems everything was just a bit off for this film. Good actors, bad acting. Perfect setting, trite usage. Good plot and script possibilities, bad plot and bad script. See where Iím going here?

The premise of VERTICAL LIMIT isnít striking, but in fact quite ordinary for an action flick. Yet the setting, high in the mountains of Pakistan, is rather unusual and provides the film with some breathtaking scenic shots. The basic plot summary follows: girl climbs really, really tall mountain, avalanche places girl in peril, brother and team of experts rescue girl from mountain. Maybe not on a snow-capped peak, but everyone has seen this story before.

So why didnít I go into VERTICAL LIMIT knowing it wasnít going to be all that great? Honestly, because with action movies, recycled plots donít always matter so long as the action sequences kick ass and the acting isnít so bad that it takes away from the action. So my brain thought, "Oooh, snow and big mountains, this should be interesting." But in a word, no.

Aside from beautiful snowy mountains, VERTICAL LIMIT also has a quite respectable cast. Starring aging teen heartthrob Chris OíDonnell (SCENT OF A WOMAN, BATMAN FOREVER) and the once-wonderful, now Queen Of Choosing Bad Movies (see END OF DAYS) Robin Tunney, I thought I was in for a treat. But OíDonnell and Tunney seem to have lost their respective touches and/or talent. And donít even get me started on Bill Paxton, who, as the evil billionaire leading the climbing expedition, reminded me more of a possessed Bill Gates than an eccentric wealthy person. Acting lessons please! You have money, spend it!

If you must see VERTICAL LIMIT, see it for the special effects and the damn cool climbing sequences. For me, this is what made the film worth the two hours of my life I spent watching it. Kudos to the effects team, you saved a potentially worthless movie.

All right, truly VERTICAL LIMIT isnít that bad. Not really. For an action film, it provides a generally entertaining adrenaline rush, but still leaves the audience wanting more. Like actors who still have talent and a script that isnít completely predictable from start to finish. Itís a shame VERTICAL LIMITóyou coulda been a "contenda."

óRenae Bolen

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

Mike Doughty

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