Movie Review

Vertical Limit

The Mountain Will Decide.
Vertical Limit Movie Poster

US Release Date: 12-08-2000

Directed by: Martin Campbellt


  • Chris O'Donnell
  • Peter Garrett
  • Robin Tunney
  • Annie Garrett
  • Scott Glenn
  • Montgomery Wick
  • Bill Paxton
  • Elliot Vaughn
  • Izabella Scorupco
  • Monique Aubertine
  • Nicholas Lea
  • Tom McLaren
  • Alexander Siddig
  • Kareem Nazir
Average Stars:
Reviewed on: December 10th, 2000
Chris O'Donnell in Vertical Limit.

Chris O'Donnell in Vertical Limit.

Vertical Limit tells the story of 3 ill-fated mountain climbers attempting to reach the summit of K-2 who end up trapped during an avalanche, and the rescue attempt to save them.

Oh, the agony, the cold, the discomfort, the pain, and the long wait for the inevitable end of it all. Not the climbers, ME waiting for this incredibly awful movie to finish. In fact, if you ever have the choice of being trapped, halfway up a mountain, or of having to watch this movie, then I advise you to don that parka and long underwear.

In this year of only so-so movies, Vertical Limit ranks right ahead of The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle as worst movie of the year. How can put I put it constructively? It stinks!!!!!!!!

Dialogue no one should ever be allowed to write, let alone speak. Special effects that look so bad, they might as well have left the blue screen in place. Lack of any credible tension. Not one character you can care about. By the end I was just hoping they would all die, along with the writers, directors and producers of this amazingly bad film.

Is there anything good I can say about this movie? The performances weren't horrible. Actually, this movie is the perfect example of how little the actors can actually contribute to a movie. No actor in the world could have made this movie enjoyable, unless Elizabeth Hurley performed all the roles in the nude.

I can not stress this enough, stay away from this movie as if they were handing out the Black Plague along with the tickets. If it wasn't against our policy here at Three Movie Buffs to give out zero stars, this movie would not be getting any. Just trust me that the one star it is receiving is more generous than it deserves.

Reviewed on: December 13th, 2000
Chris O'Donnell in Vertical Limit.

Chris O'Donnell in Vertical Limit.

Vertical Limit is the most amateur piece of film making I have seen this year, and I saw Thomas The Train! Everything that Scott pointed out is pretty accurate. The special effects are an embarrassment To me, however, this movie really blew it in the editing.

In 5 minutes of screen time the climbers go from base camp to cave in. The rescue team takes an hour of screen time, and they got a helicopter ride half way up. I guess they should not have stopped to pray, make tea and ask each other dumb melodramatic questions.

I do feel that after Scott so brutally slammed this movie that I should in some way defend it. The original idea for this film was probably not to bad; an action/adventure rescue on K2. Casting Chris O'Donnell and a bunch of recognizable B actors wasn't a bad move. It does have several high altitude cliff hanging scenes.

This movie could have been great. If only the direction, editing, story lines and special effects were not so lousy.

Reviewed on: December 15th, 2000
Scott Glenn in Vertical Limit.

Scott Glenn in Vertical Limit.

A brilliant, nonstop thrill-ride with breathtaking cinematography, Oscar caliber performances and a script to rival Casablanca. There aren't enough superlatives in the English language to truly do justice to this unprecedented masterpiece. Chris O'Donnell gives one of the most intense characterizations I have ever witnessed, easily surpassing Brando's in On The Waterfront. Bill Paxton was, quite simply, robbed of the supporting actor Academy Award.

JUST KIDDING. Actually Vertical Limit is pretty awful stuff. There are, however, as Eric said, some scenes of real tension with people hanging off the sides of mountains and the cinematography is good. In fact I believe it garnered its one and only Oscar nomination in this category.

A 'B' movie in every sense of the word. I would rank this one just behind Congo.