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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Heist > Cliffhanger (1993/Sony Blu-ray)

Cliffhanger (1993/Sony Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: B+     Extras: C     Film: C



In another temporary comeback for Sylvester Stallone, Renny Harlin’s Cliffhanger (1993) was a decent-sized hit that is also Harlin’s only watchable film among a long series of duds that include Adventures Of Ford Fairlane, Driven, Mindhunters, Long Kiss Goodnight and Cutthroat Island.  Stallone plays a mountain climber who is recruited to go into the Rocky Mountains to recover gold lost in a mid-air heist scheme that sends a valuable suitcase plummeting.  Now, everyone (including John Lithgow hamming up the villain role) wants it and dome will kill.


The action is decent and the casting a little odd to this day (including Michael Rooker, Janine Turner, Caroline Goodall, Paul Winfield, Ralph Waite and Bruce McGill), but this is interesting give or take its formulaic approach.  Still, it got Michael France the job of reviving the James Bond franchise with GoldenEye and has been hit and miss since, with the 2004 Punisher being his best work to date.


It is worth a look, but partly for its technical side and to see what does work.  Just be prepared to wait through more of everything you’ve seen before.  Too bad because with some more thought and restraint in some places, this would have held up better.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital high definition image was shot in real 35mm anamorphic Panavision and even issued in 70mm blow-ups, which totally works for such a good looking film.  In this transfer, however, is a little softer than I would have liked.  It was always a good-looking film thanks to the money put in it and was shot by the late, great Director of Photography Alex Thomson after his impressive work on Alien 3 (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and with a track record that includes Excalibur, Legend, Year Of The Dragon, Eureka and The Krays.  That work helped make this a hit as much as anything.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is derived from the original Dolby SR (Spectral Recording) analog and 70mm 4.1 Dolby magnetic soundmix, which in this case is seems to be the source because the upgrade is a big surprise with great soundfield, articulation and nice rendering of Trevor Jones’ score that had its demonstration moments.  It also puts to shame many newer, fancier all-digital mixes, so this is the #1 reason to try out this Blu-ray.


Extras include Blu-ray exclusive movieIQ and BD-Live interactive features, plus two Deleted Scenes with option director intros, two feature length audio commentary tracks (one with the technical crew, the other with Harlin and Stallone), personal Harlin intro, Stallone On The Edge Making-Of featurette, Special Effects featurette focusing on two sequences, storyboard comparison and trailers for this and other Sony Blu-ray releases.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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