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Taylor and Harold are good friends and avid climbers. While climbing one day, they meet a man who it seems might be attempting to climb K2, the world's second-highest peak. Always pushy, Taylor bugs the man for a spot on the team, claiming that he and Harold are good enough. They may be very good, but K2 is a very tough mountain.Written by
Murray Chapman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jeffrey DeMunn was nominated for the 1983 Tony Award (New York City) for Actor in a Drama for "K2" as 'Taylor'. See more »
When the team are around 20,000 feet and complaining about the lack of oxygen, one of the characters says: "Welcome to the death zone." In fact, the death zone refers to the altitude at which there is insufficient oxygen properly to sustain life and this is generally accepted to be above 8,000m or around 26,000 feet. See more »
Technically impressive but a bit too melodramatic for its own good
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.
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