Cliffhanger

Year: 1993
Directed By: Renny Harlin
Written By: This movie started out as “Gale Force” (Die Hard in a hurricane), it went through several re-writes.

RYAN’S REVIEW

I grew up in a family that had a thing for cheesy action movies.  Movies like this were our bread and butter, what we sat up watching on Friday nights before we were old enough to drive and go out on our own.  I have to admit I have a special place in my heart for movies in the “Die Hard-genre,” for the simplicity of them.  When the terrorists are just white guys who want money, with no racial or political motives.  You don’t have to be Jack Bauer to handle these terrorist, simple police training a la John McClane will suffice, or in the case of this movie simply being a rescue worker with muscles coming out of your ass will do.

I am a Stallone fan no matter how ridiculous some of his movies are. I do think it’s time for him to hang it up though.  His time has come and gone, it is time for him to move into a different phase of his career.  This movie is one of my favorite of his actually, I really like the “Die Hard scenario” in this setting.  Stallone is an interesting person because he has had to overcome so much to be successful with his face paralysis. During his birth a doctor improperly used a pair of tongs to pull him from the birth canal and incedently paralyzed part of his face, including the insides of his mouth.  In the beginning of his career he specifically wrote the first Rocky with little dialogue to mask his difficulty speaking.  What I really find interesting about him is how he can literally do the exact same thing over and over again on multiple platforms and continue to be successful.  He made Rocky 6 F-ing times and Rambo 4 for crying out loud, and people are still paying to see it. He has gotten old though, as unfortunate as that is, and he needs to stop trying to turn the clock back by juicing.  He was caught with roids a few years ago when shooting Rocky Balboa. Stallone was great in his hey day, but it’s time for him to admit to himself that that time is over.

The bad guy was originally going to be played by Christopher Walken which would have been awesome but he bailed at the last-minute.  I am a huge Christopher Walken fan and I have to think that it would have made for a better movie.  I am also a big John Lithgow fan though, and think that he was awesome as the bad guy in the movie.  Walken may have been a little better, but that’s not to discredit Lithgow’s performance because Lithgow is always good.  He is incredibly versatile.  He was so funny and silly on 3rd Rock From the Sun yet so ruthless and cold as the villain in this movie. There is only one reason I think Walken might have been better, and if you want to know what it is check this out.

Michael Rooker plays the other leading part in the film and I have always been a fan of his as well.  I did not like his most recent performance on The Walking Dead, but I enjoyed several of the movies he was in earlier in his career.  Renny Harlin directed the movie and I have liked many of his movies as well. He is never going to be considered a really serious filmmaker but he has made some great action movies. Like I said though, I come from a household where we spent a lot of time on stupid and mindless action movies.  We owned nearly every variety of the “Die Hard Genre.”

In the aftermath of Die Hard many movies were made with the exact same formula.  A group of white terrorist hijack something in an effort to extort lots of money in a variety of settings.  Let me provide some examples….there’s Steven Seagal vs. the white guy terrorists Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey in Die Hard  on a Boat (Under Siege), Christian Slater vs. white guy terrorists John Travolta  and Howie Long in Die Hard in the Desert (Broken Arrow), Nicholas Cage vs. white guy terrorist John Malkovich in Die Hard on a Prison Plane (Con Air), Harrison Ford vs. white guy terrorist Gary Oldman in Die Hard with the President, on a Plane (Air Force One), even Howie Long had his own Die Hard in the Woods (Firestorm),  and this one of course, Die Hard in the Mountains.  There are probably several I am forgetting, there was one with Van Damme in a hockey arena, ah I could name them off forever if I try.  These movies are all simple, there is nothing to learn from any of them, but sometimes it’s good to just sit back and relax.  These movies come in handy then.

I love this movie and still enjoy watching it, but I don’t know that I can tell just anybody that it is worth their time. It does hold a certain sentimental element for me because when I was a kid playing with G I Joes it was this scenario I always acted out.  My favorite Joe would be the one who had to defeat all the others one by one and all the “Die Hard” movies influenced how the action played out.  This one was a popular one because I could have them climbing of the furniture. So, as I was saying, I can’t say this is worth your time,  but if you give it a chance I think you I will like it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I might have written a real review for this movie. Maybe it could have been the best review I have written so far. But, that isn’t going to be the case here. The night that we watched this movie was the night that The Help came out on onDemand. I had spent all day trying to figure out how to get Ryan to watch it with me. I read the book and missed it in the theaters, so I have been patiently waiting for the DVD release date. Well, after much debate and arguing I guess you already know who won. Instead of getting to watch an uplifting movie about race relations, I was forced to watch Sylvester Stallone try to save a woman who ultimately plummeted to her death. And the whole time I sat there sulking, and thinking about how awesome Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls was for making fun of it.

I can’t say if I love it or hate it, because even though I watched it, I wasn’t really paying attention to it, because I was so mad that Ryan won and his pregnant wife didn’t get to watch the movie she had desperately been wanting to watch since finishing the book.

For the record, I still haven’t seen The Help. (I still love him, but don’t you think he owes me?)

 NEXT MOVIE: Closer (2004)

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