[[quoteright:228:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cliffhanger1_3868.jpg]]

->''[[TagLine Hang on.]]''

Gabe Walker (SylvesterStallone) was just your friendly everyday mountain rescue worker, happily flying to the rescue in the Rockies with his helicopter-pilot girlfriend Jessie Deighan (Janine Turner, from ''NorthernExposure''), until his best friend Hal Tucker (Creator/MichaelRooker) [[WhatAnIdiot took his completely untrained girlfriend]] to climb to the summit of a cliff. Of course, this lead to her horrifying death hundreds of feet below when the rescue equipment failed to function properly.[[note]] The end credits are careful to point out that the design of her harness was specifically altered for the film.[[/note]] In spite of Gabe's valiant efforts, Tucker [[{{Jerkass}} blamed him for the tragedy]]. Gabe, being the good-hearted musclehead that he is, took the blame to heart and left the mountains in guilt and grief.

18 months later, Gabe came back to pick up his things from Jessie, just in time to be the only climber qualified enough to reach a band of plane crash survivors trapped in the mountains by a snowstorm. Partnering himself with Tucker, who still hated him, the duo reached the plane...

...only to find the distress signal to be a ruse of Eric Qualen (JohnLithgow of ThirdRockFromTheSun), a maniacal terrorist leader leading a band of mercenaries who have just lost $100 million worth of Federal Bearer Bonds they hijacked during the crash. Gabe and Tucker are captured and forced to help the terrorists get their ill-gotten money...

----
!!This film provides examples of:

* AmazonChaser: The only member of his team Qualen actually admires is TheSquadette, Kristel, who's notably [[SurroundedByIdiots smarter than the rest of his mooks]] (when making the fake distress call, she claims that one of their party is running out of insulin so the rescue team won't wait till after the storm). [[spoiler:Subverted later in a KickTheDog moment when Qualen shoots her dead solely to force the hand of another rebellious team member.]]
-->'''Qualen''' ''(watching her plant an explosive booby trap)'': You'll make a good wife for someone one day.
-->'''Kristel''': You should see me bake a cake.
* TheAtoner: Gabe Walker
* AxCrazy: Eric Qualen.
** Kynette.
* BadBoss: One of the mooks is injured during the mid-air robbery.
-->'''Second Mook''': What do we do with him?
-->'''Qualen''': [[SarcasmMode Sent him to the nearest hospital]]. Fast. ''(throws mook out of the airplane)''
* BigNo: Sarah, as she's falling to her death in the beginning pf the film.
* BondOneLiner: "''Remember shithead! Keep your arms and legs in the vehicle '''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis At. All. Times!]]'''"''
* BriefAccentImitation: Krystel affects a very convincing American accent during a fake distress radio call.
* CaliforniaDoubling: Set in Colorado, filmed in the Italian Alps.
* ChekhovsGun: Tucker quickly pockets Frank's knife while nobody is looking. It comes in very handy later.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: For all his tactical expertise, Qualen sure is a lousy judge of character to form a band of henchmen that do not even ''like'' each other, much less trust and cooperate with each other.
* ClimbSlipHangClimb: Implied by [[http://www.imdb.com/media/rm129211904/tt0106582 this]] poster.
* DiabolicalMastermind: Eric Qualen.
* DieHardOnAnX: ''Film/DieHard'' on a mountain. Unsurprisingly, the director Renny Harlin directed ''[[Film/DieHard Die Hard 2]]'' as well.
* DisneyVillainDeath: Ryan.
* EmpathyDollShot: As a teddy-bear falls out of a backpack into the cliff below in the film's chilling opening.
* TheEveryman: Gabe and Tucker.
* FacingTheBulletsOneLiner
-->'''Hal Tucker''': Delmar, from me to you, you're an asshole.
-->'''Delmar''': Yeah? And you're a loud-mouth punk slag, who's about to die.
-->'''Hal Tucker''': Maybe. But in a minute I'll be dead, and you, will always be an asshole.
** Sets up the PreMortemOneLiner below.
* FiveBadBand
** BigBad: Qualen
** TheDragon: Kynette
** TheBrute: Delmar
** EvilGenius: Krystell
** DarkChick: Travers
* FlagDrop: When the surviving thrill-seeker parachutes off the cliff to escape Qualen's mooks, his 'chute resembles the flag of UsefulNotes/{{Finland}}. Director Renny Harlin is Finnish, you see.
* GroinAttack: There is ''one'' muscle that not even a martial-arts-terrorist can strengthen, as Kynette finds out the hard way in his confrontation with Walker.
* {{Heel Realization}}: Tucker when he finds himself faced with a similar choice to that of the opening.
* HellishCopter: Gabe takes down Qualen's chopper by securing it to a cliffside ladder, keeping Qualen tethered and unable to escape.
* HonorBeforeReason
* IKnowMaddenKombat: Delmar uses his soccer skills to kick the crap out of Hal.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: Kynette's end at the point of a stalactite.
* {{Jerkass}}: Tucker.
* LargeHam: "You want to kill me, Tucker? Well take a number and ''get in line!''"
** Also, "DAMN YOU WALKER!!"
** ''"Looks like I get to kill me a mountain man!''"
** "''Partners'' in ''criiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime''!"
* LiteralCliffhanger: [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Several.]]
* MadeOfIron: Gabe AND Tucker.
** Matheson, as well. The man becomes entirely responsible for Qualen's predicament by killing two of Qualen's men and crippling Qualen's plane with a machine gun, [[NotQuiteDead all while at death's door from being shot in the chest]].
* ManBitesMan: Gabe takes a chunk out of Qualen's arm in their final battle.
* ManlyTears: Cried by Gabe when he fails to save Tucker's girlfriend.
* MauveShirt: Agent Matheson.
* MeanCharacterNiceActor: You may also know Eric Qualen as JohnLithgow, an adorable sweetheart of an old gentleman who reads stories to children with terminal illnesses and starred as the childish yet kind Dick Solomon in ''ThirdRockFromTheSun''.
* TheMole: Agent Travers.
* MoneyToBurn: At one point Gabe burns some of the money to keep Jessie and himself warm.
* MyGreatestFailure: Gabe failing to save Sarah.
* NeverMyFault: Oh sure, Hal, it was Gabe's fault you brought your girlfriend, who had no experience in climbing whatsoever, on a climbing trip. Or never bothered to check her harness, and assured her it was safe to go across a cliff. Oh, but I'm sure you could've saved her when the harness failed when she was halfway across with little to no chance of reaching her or being able to pull her up. But hey, Gabe at least bothering to try was certainly something to blame him for. Yeah, [[SarcasmMode great reasoning there, Hal.]]
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: While Gabe is retrieving the first briefcase, Qualen remarks that they don't need two guides and instructs his crew to kill Gabe when he comes down. He says this while ''standing next to Hal'', so Hal naturally yells to Gabe not to come back down, allowing Gabe to flee and become the fly-in-the-ointment to Qualen and crew. Had Qualen kept his mouth shut until Gabe came down, or instructed his men out of earshot, he would've saved himself a lot of trouble.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Kynette's brutal beating of Walker and Delmar's "soccer-torture" of Tucker.
* NoisyGuns: The bad guys' weapons make cocking noises every time they're pointed at someone.
* {{Novelization}}: By JeffRovin.
* OhCrap: The crooked treasury jet pilot when he realizes [[NotQuiteDead Matheson isn't dead yet]]. And has a machine gun.
* PlummetPerspective: Used to horrifying effect in the opening with a falling teddy bear.
* PreMortemOneLiner: Delmar fights Tucker and announces it like a soccer game; finally, the beaten Tucker is dangling from a cliff with Delmar's shotgun in his face. Tucker manages to stab the sadistic Irishman in the ankle with Frank's dagger, grab his shotgun while he's distracted by the pain and...
-->'''Hal Tucker''': [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome "SEASON'S OVER, ASSHOLE!"]] ''(pulls the trigger and blows a hole through Delmar)''
* PsychoForHire: All of Qualen's men probably qualify, but Kynette and Delmar are the straightest examples. They're the most openly psychotic and sadistic.
* RatedMForManly: Let's see, terrorists, gunfights, explosions, and rock climbing? It's a manly movie that flies under the radar.
* {{Retirony}}: Poor Frank, an elderly-artist who would not hurt a fly...
* SacrificialLamb: Brett, Evan and Frank.
* SavageWolves: After one of the basejumpers crash down on the woods, bunch of wolves appear to check him out. Luckily Frank arrives and chases them away.
* ScaryBlackMan: Kynette, child-murderer and karate expert.
* SceneryPorn
* ShortLivedAerialEscape: TropeMaker
* TakeMyHand: Gabe tries to save Tucker's girlfriend this way. It doesn't work.
* ThisIsForEmphasisBitch
* ThoseTwoGuys: Brett and Evan, the two friendly extreme sports enthusiasts.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Or rather, on an urban legend among American climbers. The legend version was that a dope smuggling plane had gone down in the mountains and been found by climbers, who - being the only people able to get to it - recovered the stash. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Breashears David Breashears]], who was employed on the Movie as a climber, relates the story in his book ''High Exposure''.
* VillainousBreakdown: Travers when he finds Gabe has outsmarted him and he'll never be able to locate the money, rendering all his crooked dealings to get it moot.
* YouHaveOutLivedYourUsefulness: Threatened, but never actually done. Mainly because the characters take steps to ensure [[GenreSavvy they don't outlive their usefulness]].