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"VERTICAL LIMIT"
(2000) (Chris O'Donnell, Robin Tunney) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Moderate Extreme Extreme Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Extreme None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Mild Moderate Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: A rescue team sets out to save a climbing team that's trapped near the summit of K2 and running out of supplies and time.
PLOT:
Several years after a fatal climbing accident claimed their father's life, Peter Garrett (CHRIS O'DONNELL) and his sister, Annie (ROBIN TUNNEY), have gone their separate ways. He's now a wildlife photographer while she's a mountain guide, and they've never resolved their feelings about that fateful day.

They're reunited at the base camp of K2, the world's second highest peak where Annie and fellow mountain guide, Tom McLaren (NICHOLAS LEA), are to lead egomaniacal and ultra wealthy Texas businessman, Elliot Vaughn (BILL PAXTON), to the summit so that his photo can be taken just as the inaugural flight of his new airline flies overhead.

Despite an approaching weather system that could spell disaster for their effort and lives, Vaughn bullies his team into continuing. An accident and then fatal avalanche, however, puts an end to their expedition and kills everyone but Annie, Tom and Vaughn who now find themselves buried in an icy cave with both supplies and time running out.

Realizing that, Peter scrambles to assemble a rescue team that must ascend the summit after being dropped off part of the way up by Pakistani chopper pilot Major Rasul (TEMUERA MORRISON). Among those volunteering for the rescue effort is Skip Taylor (ROBERT TAYLOR), another expert mountain climber; Kareem Nazir (ALEXANDER SIDDIG), a friend of Peter's who lost a family member in the accident; Malcolm (BEN MENDELSOHN) and Cyril Bench (STEVE LE MARQUAND), two goofball, but seasoned Australian brothers; Monique Aubertine (IZABELLA SCORUPCO) an occasionally surly French-Canadian nurse; and finally Montgomery Wick (SCOTT GLENN), a grizzled mountain climbing veteran whose wife died while on an earlier expedition with Vaughn.

As Peter's team splits up into three twosomes and each carry some highly volatile nitroglycerine they hope to use to free the trapped climbers, they must overcome various difficulties and perilous incidents while trying to reach them before time runs out.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Various members of the cast might draw their fan base, while the action-filled, cliffhanger previews will probably have many teens clamoring to see it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For intense life/death situations and brief strong language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • CHRIS O'DONNELL plays a wildlife photographer who gave up mountain climbing after having to make a fateful decision to save his and his sister's lives several years ago. After learning that his sister and others have become trapped near the summit of K2, he assembles a team to rescue them and shows great courage and perseverance while doing so.
  • BILL PAXTON plays a wealthy and egomaniacal businessman who will do most anything to get what he wants, including putting the lives of others in danger so that he can succeed and/or ultimately survive. He briefly uses strong profanity.
  • ROBIN TUNNEY plays Peter's sister who still hasn't come to terms with their father's death or the decision Peter made in regards to that. She's continued, nonetheless, to climb and helps lead Vaughn's expedition up K2. After being trapped, she does what she can to stay alive and make sure that another injured climber survives as well.
  • SCOTT GLENN plays a grizzled mountain climbing veteran who joins Peter's rescue team not only to save those who are trapped, but also to settle a score with Vaughn whom he believes was responsible for his wife's death on an earlier climbing expedition.
  • IZABELLA SCORUPCO plays an occasionally surly French-Canadian nurse and mountain climber who volunteers for the rescue team.
  • NICHOLAS LEA plays a mountain climbing expert handpicked by Vaughn to lead his team who finds himself injured and trapped with others near the summit.
  • ALEXANDER SIDDIG plays a friend of Peter's who volunteers for the rescue team after losing a family member in the earlier accident.
  • ROBERT TAYLOR plays Tom's mountain climbing rival who also volunteers to help Peter.
  • BEN MENDELSOHN and STEVE LE MARQUAND play two goofball Australian brothers and seasoned mountain climbers who reluctantly join the rescue team and occasionally make lewd comments toward Monique.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this action/adventure film that received a PG-13 rating. An extreme amount of violence occurs in the form of various deaths, but only two of them directly involve a person maliciously killing another person (the others include deaths from explosions, avalanches and two instances of people cutting themselves or others from ropes in order to save others - although one such incident does cause another person's death which would be considered a revenge-based murder).

    Some of those scenes and others result in some blood and gore, and many of them - as well as other literal "cliffhanger" moments -- will be suspenseful and possibly unsettling to many viewers. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, and some tense family moments are present (including adult siblings dealing with the loss of their father).

    Profanity consists of 1 use of the "f" word, along with various other expletives and colorful phrases. Two characters make some non-explicit, but lewd comments to a woman, while some other sexually related comments are also made. Meanwhile, some imitative behavior is present while a few characters drink and/or smoke. Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who wishes to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for specific examples of what occurs in it.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Malcolm has a beer.
  • People drink at a party where Malcolm and a woman appear to be a bit intoxicated.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see Wick's toeless foot as he rubs it (we learn he lost the toes to frostbite).
  • We see Cyril's urine stream (as he stands with his back to the camera) as he urinates outside.
  • We see a tiny bit of blood in some snow from where Annie's glove touched it after she coughed into her hand.
  • Monique's glove is removed to reveal her broken finger where the tip now bends up at a very unnatural looking ninety-degrees from the rest of the finger. Peter then has to reset it, and while we don't actually see him do so, the thought of him doing it (as well as the sound of him doing so), may be disturbing to some viewers.
  • Vaughn has some blood on his glove from coughing it up.
  • Monique has a few bloody cuts on her face.
  • We see a dead and frozen woman who's been "unearthed" by recent shifts in the ice and snow. Beyond being dead (and looking frozen), however, she's not bloody or gory.
  • Hoping to show where they are, Vaughn takes his knife to a dead man's body (we don't see any actual cutting). We then see a bag of blood being lifted up out of their hole (with some of it dripping back down onto Annie's face) and then sprayed onto the surrounding snow when a flare rips the bag open.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some viewers may take offense to Skip talking about Monique being a French-Canadian and that she's only pleasant when she's more Canadian than French.
  • Despite receiving expert advice from the base camp and Tom about an approaching dangerous storm, Vaughn bullies the others into pushing on up the mountain. By doing so, he puts the lives of those with him in danger.
  • The Bench brothers make various lewd comments to Monique.
  • Later, Vaughn asks why three people should die if two could live by sacrificing the third who's severely injured and going to die anyway (referring to Tom). As such, he won't let Annie give Tom anything beyond his strictly allocated schedule of supplies and water.
  • A person kills another person to better his own chance of living.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Anyone with a fear of heights, cliffs, etc. or being trapped in an icy cave/hole may find many of the film's later scenes as rather tense/unsettling/suspenseful just from that aspect.
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may also be unsettling to some viewers.
  • While climbing with their father, Peter and Annie suddenly find themselves in trouble when some amateur mountain climbers above them fall and nearly hit them. The falling climbers, however, do become tangled in the Garrett family's ropes, essentially resulting in everyone precariously dangling from just Annie's line that begins slipping out of its placement. After the two other climbers fall to their deaths (we don't see the impact), the siblings' father orders that they cut the line and allow him to fall so that they won't. After some tense moments and much yelling and screaming (and the line appearing ready to give way at any moment), Peter cuts the line. We then see the father's body slam into the ground far below them (but without any blood or gore).
  • Vaughn and his crew find themselves in the middle of a severe, swirling storm up on the mountain. While traversing the slope, the snow gives way and Annie falls into a hole, pulling others attached to her toward it as well.
  • An avalanche races down the mountainside and sweeps away many people, presumably killing them, and sealing Annie, Tom and Vaughn inside an icy hole.
  • People notice that some nitroglycerine has leaked onto a man's boot that's then slowly and gingerly removed and taken outside where it explodes after being thrown off into the distance.
  • The rescue team is taken part of the way up the mountain by a helicopter, but it can only go so far. Reaching its upper limit, it then tries to unload its passengers while hovering next to a small cliff. As the various rescue team members try to jump out and onto the cliff, they end up precariously hanging from the chopper, its landing gear (in one moment Wick barely holds onto Peter who dangles below him) and/or nearly get hit by the partially out of control chopper and its spinning blades (which repeatedly nearly hit Monique and even slice open the arm of her coat).
  • A character slides down a snowy/icy mountainside, out of control, desperately trying to stop himself with his ax. He does, but only after sliding off the edge of a cliff from which he now precariously hangs. His climbing partner then comes over, only to find that the "cliff" is actually a bank of snow that begins to crack and break away under her feet as his ax begins to slide even further down it. She just manages to snare his ax with a rope when that snow bank falls away, leaving her and her partner now dangling from her rope. She then tries to swing him over to another ledge without dislodging her rope. While doing so, his canister of nitroglycerine falls the long distance to the ground below them where it explodes and sends a huge fireball racing up toward them. She then finds herself standing on a small stone jutting out from the side of the vertical cliff and must make her way up to safety.
  • Inter-cut with that scene is another where Annie slowly and carefully tries to make her way across a "bridge" made of ice and snow that may or may not hold her weight, as she tries to reach another backpack. She eventually takes off her safety rope when it won't reach to where she's going and she just manages to grab that rope when a nearby explosion collapses that bridge and she falls.
  • The various rescue team members race to get their canisters of nitroglycerine into the cold shade when they learn that sunlight can ignite it. We then see a stream of nitro running from a canister down toward the sunlight.
  • A man goes over to another man with an air-filled syringe that he then plunges into the man's neck (in a non-graphic fashion) and holds it there while holding his other hand over the man's mouth to keep him quiet until he dies (which he does after his body convulses).
  • Needing to get between two mountain cliffs, Peter takes a running start and leaps from one to the next, hoping that he can stop himself on the second one with his climbing axes as he falls toward it.
  • A character nearly falls into a hole while trying to help someone else out and as the spike holding their rope starts to pull out of the ground. Moments later, more roped together characters fall into the hole and dangle precariously above another hole.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Artillery: Occasionally fired by the Pakistani military towards India, but we never see where they hit.
  • Nitroglycerine: Carried by the rescue team in hopes of using it to free the trapped climbers. In various scenes, however, it detonates and causes massive explosions, killing some people.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck you," "I don't give a sh*t about…" "Any way you look at it, I'm in the sh*t," "Don't bullsh*t me," "Screw you," "Bloody" (adjective), "Pissed off," "Piss," "Don't crap out on me," "Wankers," "What the hell are you doing?" "I don't give a damn" and "Bastard."
  • The film could inspire some kids to take up extreme mountain climbing.
  • We see Malcolm and Cyril sunbathing nude at the K2 base camp, but due to the positioning of their bodies and the camera, we don't see any explicit nudity.
  • Malcolm lights a woman's cigarette by blowing some alcohol over a match or lighter, thus causing a burst of flame to come from his mouth.
  • Wick shaves his long and scraggily beard with a straight razor and without any lubricant.
  • One of the Bench brothers repeatedly tries bending himself in half. When asked what he's doing, he says that he's "trying to kiss my ass good-bye" (as they head off on their rescue attempt).
  • Monique gives "the finger" to Cyril after he makes a lewd comment to her.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • The loud sound of a sudden and massive explosion might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 3 "s" words, 2 slang terms for sex ("shag" and "screwing"), 1 slang term for male genitals ("d*ck"), 7 hells, 5 damns, 2 asses, 1 crap, 1 S.O.B., 1 wanker, 2 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see some of Annie's cleavage as the camera above her looks down on her as she hangs on the side of a mountain.
  • We see Malcolm and Cyril sunbathing nude at the K2 base camp, but due to the positioning of their bodies and the camera, we don't see any explicit nudity.
  • Malcolm talks about Cyril and that if he can't "shag" something (have sex with it), he'll try to eat it or "piss" on it.
  • Using sex as a metaphor for the difficulty they're facing in regards to the mountain they're trying to climb, Vaughn asks the others if they thought "she was going to lift up her skirt and pull her panties down for us."
  • After hearing Peter's plans, Cyril comments, "One hundred thousand sperm and you were the fastest?"
  • After making a comment about the explosive combination of Monique smoking near some nitroglycerine, Cyril tells her that he was hoping she'd "blow us."
  • Later, Cyril tells Monique to smile (after it's been announced that they'll be mountain climbing partners) stating, "It's the second best thing you can do with your lips."
  • Trying to distract Monique while resetting her severely broken finger, Peter asks her how long she's been "screwing" Skip (she replies two years).
  • SMOKING
  • Malcolm smokes a few times, Monique smokes once, and a few miscellaneous/background characters also smoke (cigarettes and one a pipe).
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • After finding themselves dangling from a single line that appears ready to give way, Peter and Annie's father orders that they cut the line and allow him to fall so that they can be saved. After some tense moments and much yelling and screaming (and the line appearing ready to give way at any moment), Peter cuts the line. We then see the father's body slam into the ground far below them (but without any blood or gore). It's three years after that, however, before we see Peter or Annie talk about that (and we see that their relationship is now somewhat strained because of that).
  • Kareem briefly grieves over losing a family relative in an avalanche.
  • We learn that Wick's wife died somewhere up on K2 and that he's never found her body.
  • A man grieves for his brother who was killed, as does a man after finding his long dead wife.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Mountain climbing and the inherent risks involved with that.
  • Rescue operations and the fact that people put their lives on the line while trying to save others who've gotten into trouble due to their own devices and decisions (such as the always potentially dangerous mountain climbing).
  • Whether Peter should have cut the line that sent their father to his death (on his orders) and probably saved his and Annie's lives.
  • VIOLENCE
  • While climbing with their father, Peter and Annie suddenly find themselves in trouble when some amateur mountain climbers above them fall and nearly hit them. The falling climbers, however, do become tangled in the Garrett family's ropes, essentially resulting in everyone precariously dangling from just Annie's line that begins slipping out of its placement. After the two other climbers fall to their deaths (we don't see the impact), the siblings' father orders that they cut the line and allow him to fall so that they don't. After some tense moments and much yelling and screaming (and the line appearing ready to give way at any moment), Peter cuts the line. We then see the father's body slam into the ground far below them (but without any blood or gore).
  • Peter's porter slips and slides down a hill where his leg gets wedged and broken in some rocks (no blood or gore).
  • Peter and Vaughn's base camp leader get into a brief scuffle over use of the radio.
  • An avalanche races down the mountainside and sweeps away many people, presumably killing them.
  • People notice that some nitroglycerine has leaked onto a man's boot that's then slowly removed and taken outside where it explodes after being thrown off into the distance.
  • Monique punches Cyril after he makes a lewd comment to her.
  • A canister of nitroglycerine falls a long distance to the ground below where it explodes.
  • An avalanche sweeps a man off a cliff and to his death.
  • An explosion blows up a building and knocks a man down in another building, but doesn't kill him.
  • More nitroglycerine ignites, resulting in a huge explosion that kills two people (but not graphically).
  • A man goes over to another man with an air-filled syringe that he then plunges into the man's neck (in a non-graphic fashion) and holds it there while holding his other hand over the man's mouth to keep him quiet until he dies (which he does after his body convulses).
  • A woman briefly attacks and punches a man for what he's just done to another person.
  • Peter pours nitroglycerine into a small hole and then detonates it, creating another huge explosion and fireball.
  • A man tries attacking another man with a pickax, but misses. The second man then briefly holds the first man over a ledge as if he's going to drop him, but doesn't.
  • A person cuts a rope, sending him and another man to their presumed deaths.



  • Reviewed December 5, 2000 / Posted December 8, 2000

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