Vertical Limit (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

When I first saw “Vertical Limit” it was in theaters just over six years ago and it’s also one of the most vivid experiences I’ve had while watching a movie. The movie was good, but not great but for some reason the whole sense and feel of it left me wrung out afterwards. The best way I can describe the film is that it’s just…tense. Now I’m sure that the movie didn’t affect everyone the way it did me but I can remember certain scenes (the opening one, for starters) when things happened that were unexpected. The scene of the broken finger (it still gives me chills) is another. There’s no doubt that this release of “Vertical Limit” found it’s way onto the new Blu-ray format because it was directed by Martin Campbell who just had a field day with the new Bond movie: “Casino Royale”. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but it seems probable enough. Nevertheless, the movie doesn’t feel dated and six years later manages to deliver a good action/adventure film.

The major players in the movie are Peter (Chris O’Donnell) and his sister Annie (Robin Tunney) who have lost their father to a rock climbing incident. They’ve gone their separate ways: he a photographer for National Geographic and she a world record holder for mountain climbing. Annie is now on the climbing team of billionaire industrialist Elliott Vaughn (Bill Paxton) as they attempt to summit K2, the world’s second tallest mountain. It’s Vaughn’s plan to christen his new airline while atop the mountain. Naturally thing’s don’t go as planned and the group of climbers become trapped and are literally racing against the clock to stay alive. It’s up to Peter to get a group of climbers to rescue his sister and save their lives before the weather hits thereby killing everyone. The premise is believable and some of the stunts aren’t but there are far worse ways to spend two hours.

Video: How does it look?

“Vertical Limit” comes to blu-ray in a dazzling 1.85:1 MPEG-2 HD transfer that leaves little to the imagination. This movie has always had a bit of a problem with the way it looks, some of the scenes look a bit oversaturated but then again considering all of the white (snow) in a majority of the scenes, it could be that the other scenes look darker by comparison. I didn’t notice anything particularly wrong with the transfer and I broke out my old Superbit DVD of this movie just to do a comparison. Sure enough, the edges were sharper, the colors a bit warmer and an overall improvement over the previous DVD.

Audio: How does it sound?

The PCM uncompressed audio isn’t one that will really stay with you after the closing credits roll but for the most part, it’s pretty good. A lot of the ambiance in the action scenes sounds terrific with the sound booming from all speakers. Dialogue sounds very natural as well. I found that the majority of the movie to be in the front stage, but there are certain scenes that really make great use of the directional effects. Ultimately the movie will probably be remembered more for the visuals, but the audio does a fine job as well.

Supplements: What are the extras?

All of the supplements from the standard DVD of “Vertical Limit” have been ported over with no new content. The audio commentary by director Martin Campbell is fairly informative with his thoughts on the cast, the location and the shoot. There’s a 25 minute HBO “First Look” with some behind the scenes footage and interviews with the actors and “Search and Rescue Tales” which divides the segment up into several smaller bits and tells of real life, you guessed it, search and resuce tales. If you want to upgrade to this Blu-ray version, you’re getting superior audio and video and the same supplements that were on the standard DVD from a few years back.

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