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Vertical Limit

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Vertical Limit

Starring: Bill Paxton, Scott Glenn
Director: Martin Campbell
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 130 Minutes
Release Date: December 2000
Genre: Action

*Also starring: Chris O'Donnell, Temuera Morrison, Bill Paxton, Izabella Scorupco, Alexander Siddig, Robin Tunney

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1.  Susan Granger review follows movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
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Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

I must confess that I am vertically challenged, meaning that when I peer down a deep crevasse, my palms get sweaty and my knees go weak. So, despite its inherent implausibility, this suspenseful excursion into mountain-climbing had my heart pounding - but it was more my acrophobia than the cliffhanger by writers Robert King and Terry Hayes and director Martin Campbell ("The Mask of Zorro"). Lifting liberally from "K2," "Wages of Fear" and the IMAX film "Everest," the story begins with high drama on a cliff in Moab, Utah, where Peter Garrett (Chris O'Donnell) and sister Annie (Robin Tunney) survive a rock-climbing accident that costs the life of their father (Stuart Wilson). Flash forward several years: Peter has traded his carabiners for cameras, photographing snow leopards in the Himalayas for National Geographic, while Annie, now a hotshot mountaineer, has joined with another expert (Nicholas Lea) to lead Elliot Vaughn (Bill Paxton), a millionaire entrepreneur - think Richard Branson, to the summit of the world's second highest peak, a commercial stunt perfectly timed coincide with a fly-over of a plane from his new airline. But when they're trapped in a cavern by an avalanche with just 36 hours to live, Peter assembles his own motley team, led by a Jeremiah Johnson-like recluse (Scott Glenn), to lug canisters of nitroglycerin up to blast through and rescue them.

The outdoor scenes are quite realistic and cinematically spectacular, but the stereotypical characterizations are mundane and mediocre. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Vertical Limit" is a dizzying 6. The title refers to the high, oxygen-deprived altitude of 26,000 feet above sea level, where the human body cannot survive for long.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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