A high-adrenaline tale of young climber Peter Garrett, who must launch a treacherous and extraordinary rescue effort up K2, the world's second highest peak. Confronting both his own limitations and the awesome power of nature's uncontrollable elements, Peter risks his life to save his sister, Annie, and her summit team in a race against time. The team is trapped in an icy grave at 26,000 feet - a death zone above the vertical limit of endurance where the human body cannot survive for long. Every second counts as Peter enlists the help of a crew of fellow climbers, including eccentric, reclusive mountain man Montgomery Wick, to ascend the chilling might of the world's most feared peak to save her. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The well-known climber Ed Viesturs plays himself in the movie. He also worked as a trainer for the actors. See more »
As the rescue team gets off the helicopter, its rotor blades come within inches of Monique, even ripping her jacket. The air pressure would instantly kill her at that distance, even if she didn't get sucked into the downdraft. See more »
Don't mind her. She's French-Canadian. Some days she's Canadian. Can be quite pleasant. Today she's obviously French.
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In this high-octane action film, three climbers make stupid decisions at 26,000 feet, en route to the summit of K2, the world's second highest mountain. The climber's peril thus necessitates a rescue, which puts additional people on the mountain and at risk of dying. That's it. The story is thus fairly thin, but the filmmakers insert all kinds of natural and human obstacles, conflict, and difficulties to rev up the action and excitement.
The film's CGI creates compelling tension. We have the illusion of vertical scale, or perspective, which translates into a needed sense of vertigo. The sensation that the characters could, at any moment, fall to their deaths is the film's strength.
The mountain scenery is also nice, although it is sometimes wasted, because of the film's fast pace. Cinematography is quite good. And some of the scene transitions make the film flow really well.
Dialogue seems flat to me. Production design and costumes are adequate. Acting is largely irrelevant.
By far, the biggest flaw is the unrealistic amount of action. In the plot, everything that could go wrong does go wrong, from bad weather to avalanches to exploding nitro to human conflict and discord. It's all a bit much. But, that seems to be a problem inherent to outdoor action films. Directors cram in too much chaos.
Another minus is the background music, which is irritatingly nondescript. For a film set mostly in Asia, I could have wished for more indigenous music which, when combined with the majesty of the mountains, could have added emotional depth and a sense of mystery and awe.
"Vertical Limit" does have an emotional spine to its story, but that is secondary to the super action plot. Viewers who expect well thought out characters, meticulous plotting, or a subtle "theme" will need to look elsewhere. This film is strictly for people who like heavy-duty outdoor action.
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