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If you have seen "Cliffhanger" and "Vertical Limit" and thought they were
good mountaineering movies, "K2" might probably surprise
As the first two are action movies based at high altitude (probably due
the lack of a decent story!), "K2" is actually a movie about
Having read about mountaineering, done it myself and seen "Everest - the
IMax movie", the realism in "K2" is astounding!
The actors are doing an impressive job on the mountains, their gear is correct, their reaction to altitude is 98% real and their pace is realistic as well.
If you are looking for "Cliffhanger 2" or "Vertical Limit 2", this is not the movie to go for. But... If you are looking for a catching mountaineering movie with breathtaking scenery and an OK storyline - go and buy "K2". It has FINALLY been released on DVD - at least in Europe.
I have been waiting ages for this film and now, finally, it is out on
DVD in the UK. This film did not disappoint me one bit and kept me
thoroughly entertained. I was a big fan of Vertical Limit when it hit
the cinemas but there can be no comparisons made. Where Vertical Limit
aimed more for suspense and thrills, K2 follows character development
Taylor Brooks (Michael Biehn) and Harold Jameson (Matt Craven) are best friends who live almost opposite lives but share one common passion, mountain climbing. Brooks is a selfish jerk who has only ever thought about himself where as Jameson is a man driven by his family and his job who cares greatly for the safety of others. These two are perfectly cast without even acting. Biehn's voice is perfect for an arrogant character and Craven's nerdish looks personify a man in the science profession. Biehn does well in this performance to disguise his fear of heights and delivers a very strong, charming performance. He portrays Brooks' obsession with K2 very well and was definitely the right choice to lead this film.
The scenery for this film is simply breath taking, beautiful snowy mountains with a caressing mist. There was one scene where I thought my TV had broken because the screen appeared to be pure white, but then a person enters the shot and the camera starts to pan out, I realise how clean and untouched the snow is. Filming a feature like this is always challenging on crew and cast, equipment and supplies can be buried under 5 feet of snow when the day's up. Everyone rose to challenge and produced a visually stunning film. The climbing sequences allow appear very professional and without doubt help Roddam to build up tension on a bigger scale.
What is best about this film is that behind all the scenery, the suspense and the arguments, there is a very strong message about friendship. It was important for this film to have a positive element because there are so many mishaps and so many dislikeable characters that a lack of positive energy in any form would have made K2 far too bleak. The friendship between Taylor and Harold drives the story and leads to a wonderful transformation within Taylor that is very believable. Character development in this style has sadly been abandoned by Hollywood now in favour of special effects and period pieces.
Very underrated, K2 is definitely the best mountain climbing film I have seen and as a huge Michael Biehn fan, it is great to see him perform so well in a non action role. With the beautiful snowy mountains and great character story, K2 is blissful to watch and leaves you feeling good after watching.
This movie delivers on its promise: the feeling of high adrenaline
excitement. The personal lives of the characters are just fodder, but the
climbing scenes are breathtaking! I also liked how the film showed the
details of such an enormous undertaking, such as test-runs and problems with
porters. Whoever said there were cliched aspects, come on! How many
climbing movies have people seen before?
Back to the climbing scenes. The ones of the test-run mountain in the U.S. are great, with music that is truly original, and perfectly matches the visuals, giving you the feeling of being 'high'. But the scenes I like most are the ones of climbing the big mountain, especially when they break out the full ice climbing gear. It might make a difference that I've spent much time skiing in Vermont, which has somewhat of an extreme outdoors feel(moreso than Pennsylvania, anyway). I was reminded of some cool times, and felt like actually going out and learning to climb! Dont miss this one!
This site is full of pretentious idiots ! From climbers who wanted to
watch a 2 hour film about sack hauling and food ration logistics to
unemployed film critics whining about interesting characters-you can't
weave a super depth character into an action movie ! One guy (who by
his own admission didn't even watch it properly) expected them to have
actually filmed it on K2,(he called himself "a climber")he clearly
knows nothing about the logistics or the remoteness and danger of that
place-film a motion picture ON K2 ? What a tit ! As it is at every
opportunity the film tries to establish what kind of person both
climbers are, scenes such as Taylor telling Harold that on K2 he's on
his own, Harold takes this as another sign of him being selfish 'till
Taylor fully explains the situation. In other areas he proves he is
that selfish, until he gets the ultimate challenge ! There are a few
faults with things that are "undoable" but in comparison with every
action film ever made v.few. As for unbelievability try reading about
REAL mountain stories or Ernest Shakleton then tell me you don't
believe them !
As for complaints about clichés ! Climbing IS a cliché !!! That's why there aren't millions of climbing movies, how many twists can such a limited sphere have ? ........ Bar Touching the Void the best mountain movie-only one worth watching. Great action movie, plenty of comedy with real mountaineering stories (or clichés !)blended in. Atmospheric music too.
While practising a rapid ascent of a local vertical face, lawyer Brooks
and physicist friend Jameson meets a part of climbers who appear to be
planning for something bigger. Tragedy brings them together with the
leader of the group legendary climber Phillip Claiborne. Brooks talks
his way onto the team a team that is heading to the top of K2, one of
the deadliest ascents in the world.
Having read some of the reviews for this film before watching it, they seemed to be mostly from those who embraced it as a "real" climbing movie and those that dismissed it for being unrealistic. I'm not suggesting my point of view has more validity (it doesn't) but I tried to watch it as someone who struggles to climb a ladder up a stack far less a mountain, so probably wouldn't be bothered if it was or wasn't an accurate portrayal of doing it for real. Well, I say that but I must admit that even with my limited knowledge of the subject, I'm not sure if some of the heroics seen here could really be done. Despite this the film is technically very impressive with really well directed action and some great shots. It looks the business if only the material had been there to back it up.
Instead the material feels a lot less genuine and it jars with the convincing surroundings. Here everyone gets a speech and the story is always a bit too melodramatic and chickens out of the impacting stuff too often. The cast work the best they can with it but they don't convince as to their surroundings when they have to speak, not that some of the narrative devices or convenient twists help them either. Biehn plays it cocksure and arrogant but forgets to leave a crack of a real person in there; so he is loud but when his true self comes it is unconvincing and not connected to anything we have seen in him at all. Craven is good though because his softer character does sit with being the unappreciated friend. Bercovici, Charbonneau and Barry are part of a solid enough supporting cast who do what the material requires.
Not a great film then but one that is technically impressive and easy to watch. The simple characters and overly melodramatic script and unconvincing dialogue really limit it but it is still serviceable for what it is.
I enjoyed "K2" quite a bit. There were a few things here and there that I
didn't like, but there wasn't much. Some other people on this site would
have you believe that the story is horrible. I feel quite the opposite.
Ok, it's not a major "thinking" movie, and the plot is fairly simple, but
that's what I like about movies of this nature. I don't want to go into a
mountain climbing movie and have to be thinking about the story and be
overly complex. I just want to see some great scenery and some cool
climbing, and that is exactly what I got. The film has plenty of both to
keep you entertained, and the story isn't nearly as bad as some other people
claim it is.
The cast in the film is pretty good, most of which I've never really heard of. Matt Craven did a surprisingly good job with his role, I thought his acting was very good throughout the film. Michael Biehn is an actor that I have always liked, he's just got a cool style about him. And lastly, Raymond J. Barry, nice performance, but nothing spectacular.
The only things I can really complain about in this film are the following. Some of the music in the film sound rather dated and kind of odd, but didn't really take away from the film, so it isn't a big deal. Also, some of the directing seemed kind of odd, but again, nothing that I couldn't deal with. And finally I thought the ending was somewhat abrupt, an acceptable ending, but nonetheless unexpected.
If you are a fan of rock/ice climbing, then I'd recommend you check this movie out. Or if you are just a fan of adventure films, then go ahead, check it out. In any case, I hope you enjoy the film as much as I do. Thanks for reading,
The attorney Taylor Brooks (Michael Biehn) and the professor and family
man Harold "H" Jameson (Matt Craven) are best friends and climbers.
Harold is married with Cindy (Julia Nickson-Soul) and they have a baby
son, and Taylor is a selfish womanizer. One day, they save the life of
the famous climber Phillip Claiborne (Raymond J. Barry) and most of his
team after an avalanche during a climbing. On the funeral of the two
climbers that had died, Taylor asks Claiborne to take Harold and him to
complete his team on his next expedition, when Claiborne expects to
climb the K2, the second highest mountain on Earth. Soon they travel to
Pakistan and they have trouble first when the porters unexpectedly
decide to return and then when Claiborne becomes sick with the
altitude. Claiborne calls of the climbing, but Taylor and Harold are
decided to reach the top of the world at any cost.
"K2" is an underrated dramatic adventure and a tale of perseverance and friendship with impressive landscapes. The cinematography and camera work of this movie are breathtaking and would suffice to make worthwhile watching it. But the story is also beautiful and the fight of Taylor to rescue his only friend is heartbreaking. The soundtrack is also wonderful and is not credited in the movie. The first time I saw this movie was on VHS and today I have just seen it again on DVD. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "K2 A Montanha da Morte" ("K2 The Death Mountain")
... K2: The Ultimate High. Well, while I'm sure climbing the actual mountain really is a great high, this movie does a mediocre job of portraying the thrill. It's not that the acting is bad, but the plot is pretty generic and predictable. Leaves you just a bit wanting in places. Too much "made for TV" juice in its veins.
The real strength of this DVD comes with its crisp video and pretty impressive camera work on the slopes. You almost feel cold and light-headed as you travel up the spine of K2 with the protagonists. No clues in the special features or jacket info about the actual filmed locations for the movie, but especially the shots from the climax at the apex connote well the feeling of reaching nearly to the top of the world (I don't think I've revealed any plot twists here). I doubt the scenes here are all from K2 itself, but some good aerial camerawork make it just as well.
Not much on the special features perks for this one. A chapter selection list and two bios, but that's about it.
Overall, not a bad buy if you like moutains and climbing and can find it for a decent price. Recommended viewing with hot brandy and licorice.
But, of course, it wasn't. Makes the climbing of the world's 2nd highest mountain look like a real tough day hike. Cast is okay, soap opera dialogue and plot-by-the-numbers is bearable, sometimes the scenery is outstanding, but where's the technical advice? I guess an accurate depiction of an 8000+ meter climb would be a little too tedious for Hollywood. Would be merely inoffensive if they hadn't trivialized the climbing of a mountain that has claimed so many lives.
I liked this movie enough to having watched it three times as of now.
With few exceptions, it's a realistic adventure movie - this according
to a friend who has done 5000+ meter climbs - with beautiful scenery,
very interestingly developing plot, personal intrigues, good humor etc.
Also, the acting is generally excellent, where the two main characters
are the cream of the crop.
The only thing I don't like is the kind of "Crap, we ran out of money, how do we put a quick end to this?" ending. Also, the quality of the picture is a bit "amateurish", the "home VCR" kind of quality at times with that dreaded bad contrast which makes for a "grey-biassed" picture. Not a good thing for an adventure/trek movie with beautiful scenery.
All in all, it's indeed enjoyable to watch, though. Moderately recommended. Rating: 7/10
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