However seductive the pulp-cinematic mechanics of mountain-climbing misadventures might be, it's a genre that really has only one destination (down) and one pace (glacial). Revisiting Davey-fell-in-the-well territory, Martin Campbell's movie focuses on Bill Paxton and Robin Tunneyas a smug billionaire and a climbing expert, respectivelytrapped in an ice cavern (though their breath is never visible) on K2 as Tunney's bro Chris O'Donnell and renegade climbing savage Scott Glenn struggle to reach them before pulmonary edema kicks in. (The words "pulmonary edema" are repeated as many times as "pipe dreams" in The Iceman Cometh.) Since the trip up is littered with idylls and chitchat, there's no sense of urgency, and the script is Barney-simple (someone explains Morse code to other climbers), but Vertical Limit's real problem is its digitized sheen. Every shot seems to have been CGI-enhanced, so the movie has an overpasteurized, Velveeta-like glowprocessed movie food. The stunts have all the tension of bungee-tied rock climbing in Times Square.
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Scott Adkins Plays a Badass Actually Named ‘Colt McReady’ In the Effective ‘Close Range’
- Meet the Pole Who Tried to Warn the World About the Holocaust in ‘Karski & the Lords...
- Jane Fonda Faced Down the Seventies and a Killer in Pakula’s Masterful ‘Klute’
- He’ll Get Your Head Shaking: Surveying the Start of Chung Mong-hong’s (Likely) Great...