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VERTICAL LIMIT is one of the worst films I have seen all year long. And on this day, which started off with DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS... I can assure you... VERTICAL LIMIT is infinitely worse.

I can forgive a film nearly everything. Earlier today, with DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS... I forgave the film the lack of a great narrative, terrible dialogue, sub-par acting and moments of absolute stupidity... because the film was not boring, tedious or stiff. VERTICAL LIMIT on top of having a terrible narrative, terrible dialogue, sub-par acting from all and many many many moments of absolute stupidity... the film was also UGLY, unbearably mediocre, boring, uninventive, starch hardened stiff and painful to sit through.

When the film was over, many in the audience hung out in the lobby trying to recall which scenes were the worst. Was it moment where the key emotional loss is turned into a Wile Coyote sight gag? Was it.... oh god, I just don't want to think about it.. Now I know, the trailer is attractive to look at... but what you see in the trailer... THAT'S IT! You've seen the 2 minutes of the film that you would tell your friends about later as "Not Sucking," but everything else does.

I'm not going to waste too much energy on this film, because from the feel of it, I don't think Martin Campbell put very much in this one. He has created a very very bad bomb. Robin Tunney, Bill Paxton (who I usually love), Scott Glenn (who I usually love) and Chris O'Donnell are all acting far beneath the worst you've ever seen from them. I'm serious...

Combine the worst from END OF DAYS, BATMAN & ROBIN, TWISTER and TALL TALE and you are still not close. THIS movie is filled with boring boring boring moments... it is nearly remarkable in its ability to not make you care about a single situation, stunt or moment of action... except that... well gosh... using the word 'remarkable' in any way about this film is a gross exaggeration.

Stay home... rent K2 or ALIVE instead. Whatever you do, don't waste your money on this. You and your girl, guy, friends will leave the theater... not laughing or cheering about how awful it is... you will be griping about the moments from your life that this film ruined. BAD BAD BAD MEDIOCRE LOAD OF JUNK! BEWARE!


The film begins with an opening that is reminiscent of FORREST GUMP (add more feathers) and STAR TREK V (minus the coolness of Kirk). This group of rock climbers are climbing a big rock when some bozo above loses his backpack... there by causing everyone to die except our heroes. Never mind that none of this is either the fault of our heroes or even vaguely close to being realistic. Ok... so the big point of the first scene is to A) Make sure you have lots of these hold on the rock devices strapped to you.... ALTHOUGH... the top 5 or so folks on this rock have apparently only one per person... though little miss marker has.... 3 in. Now hers are amazing super-deluxe rock holder onto things, cause they support the weight of the whole team before dropping them. Meanwhile the guys above... soon as one falls, their rock holding things instantly give... including PaPa San's, who has been telling his kid.... YA NEED 3 AT LEAST ALL GOOD CLIMBERS HAVE 3! Sigh. The 'tense' moment comes... Chris cuts dad loose. NOW, do we get a great big long shot of the body falling? A P.O.V? How about the faces of Chris and Robin at this... the most horrifying moment of their lives.... No... instead we have a turtle eye view of the world that suddenly has a body hit the ground... while an eagle swoops in the distance.... a puff of dirt... It is WILE COYOTE time

A couple of years go by, and Quitter, the boy blunder Chris O'Donnell has become Nature Photographer boy... who just so happens is taking snap shots up on the side of some Tibetan mountain of Snow Leopards... BUT HE'LL NEVER ROCK CLIMB AGAIN.... Now it just so happens at this very same time, that some Pakistan Helicopter guy realizes that his sister is going up K2 so... golly gee whiz... Blunder Boy must visit her.

Alright... for the rest of the film... the characters are all introduced like this....

Stoner Climbind Brother Dudes... superstitious about not climbing together. Krychek... biggest machismo bastard to ever scale a mountain... there is none finer.... Paxton.... Bazillionaire weirdo... climbed 4 years ago... everyone died... he was the only survivor. AND lastly mysteriously single attractive rock climbing chick that has instant mutual attraction for Boy Blunder. Oooooh, and Scott Glenn... who's wife led Paxton on the last ascent... died, he climbs the mountain in the wild search for her missing CORPSE!

Instantly we can realize... Boy Blunder, Babe and Sister will survive. EVERYONE ELSE looks and feels like a redshirt in this film. They of course try to work in the pre-requisite betrayal and backstabbing... but really... dontcha know how it'll play out? The billionaire has to be an evil bastard... he's rich. Scott Glenn has to be revenge crazy.... Stoner dudes have to be clumsy fucker uppers. Bashir, has Yoda moments because... well he's foreign... therefore instantly filled with Chinese Fortune Cookie wisdom.

To avoid all building of chemistry... they decide... inexplicably to all mount an ascent in pairs and in separate groups on the rescue mission. That way... um, if something goes wrong... noone is there to help. Also, this allows for sloppy editting back and forth between pairs so that we can all... gosh... not get to know any of them... or care about any of them.

Meanwhile, we'll have Paxton stare real evil like at Krychek and Tunney.

TEDIUM... every step you know where it is going. Anytime anyone anywhere is beginning to interest you the viewer or engage you at all... THEY CUT AWAY to a more boring thing going on. Therefore all tension is gone... all fear is gone.... It's like Martin Campbell is constantly inflicted by pre-mature ejaculation.

You get to know... noone. You get involved in.... nothing. The music by James Newton Howard made every scene at least twice as long as its actual running time. Sigh... Why is it horrible... because it neither makes you laugh or raises your pulse. It never engages your brain, heart or impulses. There is nothing that I am left with to recommend other than one broken finger and a single exploding Squib. THAT'S IT! They made New Zealand look ugly and fake. This was not the work of a first time filmmaker, but a director with no instincts or verve... no sense of storytelling or involvement. A pure and utter work of tedium and tripe. Excretable.

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