Vertical Limit

Movie review by
M. Faust, Common Sense Media
Vertical Limit Movie Poster Image
Mediocre disaster flick.
  • PG-13
  • 2002
  • 125 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A few racy double entendres.

Violence

There are a large number of deaths, including several perpetuated by one character to save his own life. In the opening scene, a young man is forced to kill his father (at his insistence) in order to save his and his sister's lives. In another scene, a

Sex

Some sexual innuendo.

Language

A few examples of mild profanity from characters under stress, as well as one F-word and an obscene finger gesture.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has many frightening and emotionally disturbing scenes. In the opening scene, a young man is forced to kill his father (at his insistence) in order to save his and his sister's lives. In another scene, a climber finds the frozen corpse of his wife, who died several years earlier. Characters are in almost constant peril from the dangers of the mountain, filmed to create maximum tension. There are a large number of deaths, including several perpetuated by one character to save his own life.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPaddy Paws December 24, 2010
Too much death! There was no take away good message! I do NOT recommend - it is a very disturbing movie.
Teen, 14 years old Written byJadenp February 15, 2011
Suggested MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense situations of life and death, peril, and brief strong language.
Teen, 13 years old Written byramro2002 February 21, 2011
This movie, is very powerful, and disturbing. I love it though. The language only flashes up once or twice.

What's the story?

In the action-thriller VERTICAL LIMIT, wealthy Elliot Vaughn (Bill Paxton) hires mountain climbing expert Annie (Robin Tunney) to help him scale K2 in the Himalayas. Her estranged brother, Peter (Chris O'Donnell), happens to be in the area on a photography assignment. When foul weather and an avalanche trap Annie and the climbers in a cave, Peter organizes a rescue squad – but they must work fast, before the climbers run out of oxygen.

Is it any good?

Like The Perfect Storm, Vertical Limit makes a perfect match of computer generated effects and natural disasters. The terrain of the movie is made up of endless expanses of snow, some of it covering rock, some covering only more snow and likely to give way under foot without warning. As befits a director whose biggest hit was one of the James Bond movies (GoldenEye), Martin Campbell paces the thrills evenly throughout the movie. Whatever combination of technical tricks were used to accomplish it, the actors always appear to be a part of this frozen environment, even when hanging off the side of impossibly high precipices.

While it doesn't lack for thrills, Vertical Limit becomes a bit grim as it goes along. Characters are killed off as regularly and mechanically as in a slasher movie, and effect that is numbing and a little distasteful. Instead, the script should have worked harder to flesh out the characters, giving us more to root for. Chris O'Donnell and Robin Tunney are likeable leads, the talented Bill Paxton hissable but not as interesting as he was in A Simple Pan. Scott Glenn is well cast as the man of mystery who puts aside his personal demons to join the rescue mission, but all of the performers would have benefited from stronger characters to work with.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes a good suspense/thriller. Does character and plot development matter?

Movie details

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