[[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 [[JerkassWoobie blamed him for the tragedy]]. Gabe, being the good-hearted musclehead that he is, [[ItsAllMyFault 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 (Creator/JohnLithgow of ThirdRockFromTheSun), a maniacal terrorist leader leading a CardCarryingVillain band of PsychoForHire mercenaries (which includes a [[RetroactiveRecognition pre]]-[[VideoGame/ModernWarfare Ghost]] Craig Fairbrass) 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 and YouHaveOutLivedYourUsefulness moment when Qualen shoots her dead solely to force the hand of another rebellious team member trying to become TheStarscream.]]
-->'''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.
* ArrogantKungFuGuy: Kynette, especially during his NoHoldsBarredBeatdown inflicted on Gabe, when he drags out his fight just for his own gratification.
* TheAtoner: Gabe Walker
* AxCrazy: Qualen, Kynette and Delmar.
* {{Badass}}: Matheson, Walker and even Tucker.
** For the villains, Kynette (who's an expert at martial arts and acts intimidatingly fierce as a ScaryBlackMan and cool at the same time) and Delmar (who uniquely uses his soccer talents to torture his hostage and taunts the said hostage with sports-related wisecracks), the LoveToHate performances by their actors Leon and Craig "[[VideoGame/ModernWarfare Ghost]]" Fairbrass certainly helps.
* BadassBystander: Matheson, one of the few {{Redshirts}} in movie history to more or less nearly take out the villains all by himself.
* BadBoss: One of the mooks is injured during the mid-air robbery.
-->'''Kynette''': What do we do with him?
-->'''Qualen''': [[SarcasmMode Send him to the nearest hospital]]. Fast. ''(throws mook out of the airplane)''
* BigBad: Quelen.
* BigBadWannabe: Travers.
* BigNo: Sarah, as she's falling to her death in the beginning of the film.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Travers at the beginning of the film initially appears to be an honest ReasonableAuthorityFigure, however, when Travers reveals his true colors as TheMole, not only is he a mole, he's anything but reasonable and a mentally unstable and disgruntled {{Jerkass}}.
* BlackAndWhiteMorality: Like most action movies from the 1980s and 1990s, there is very little moral ambiguity in this film. Eric Quelen and his gang are a bunch of unrepentant murdering psychopaths. While the good guys, on the other hand, are Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue volunteers.
* BloodKnight: Kynette seems to be this, but at least he mantains some discipline. Delmar on the other hand is totally sadist and murderous and he seems to take part in Qualen's operations just for the fun of hurting and / or killing people than for the money.
* BondOneLiner: "''Remember shithead! Keep your arms and legs in the vehicle '''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis At. All. Times!]]'''"''
* BondVillainStupidity: Especially in the fight scenes.
* BriefAccentImitation: Krystel affects a very convincing American accent during a fake distress radio call.
* ButtMonkey: Tucker.
* CaliforniaDoubling: Set in Colorado, filmed in the Italian Alps.
* CardCarryingVillain: As stated by Quelen:
-->"Kill a few people, they call you a murderer. Kill a million and you're a conqueror. Go figure."
** Travers becomes this when being called out for [[YoureInsane losing his mind]] by [[HypocriticalHumor Quelen]] upon undergoing his VillainousBreakdown, Travers admits to going nuts.
* 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.
* CoolOldGuy: Frank.
* [[DecoyProtagonist Decoy]] {{Deuteragonist}}: [[spoiler: Kind-hearted CoolOldGuy Frank, who spends a good bulk of the movie trying to find Walker, Tucker and Jessie, only when finally facing the villains and finding Tucker, instead of simply being taken hostage, he gets mowed down (by the guy who later be ''[[VideoGame/ModernWarfare Ghost]]''!) and is quickly forgotten in the picture, while Qualen steals his helicopter.]]
* DiabolicalMastermind: Eric Qualen.
* DieHardOnAnX: ''Film/DieHard'' on a mountain. Unsurprisingly, the director Renny Harlin directed ''[[Film/DieHard Die Hard 2]]'' as well.
* DisneyVillainDeath: Ryan.
* [[DroppedABridgeOnHim Dropped Bullets on Him]]: [[spoiler: Frank.]]
* EmpathyDollShot: As a teddy-bear falls out of a backpack into the cliff below in the film's chilling opening.
* TheEveryman: Gabe and Tucker.
* EvilBrit: Eric Qualen, Kristel and Delmar.
* EvilIsHammy: Qualen, Kynette, Delmar and Travers, see also LargeHam below.
* 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. He becomes TheDragon after Kynette dies.
** EvilGenius: Travers
** DarkChick: Kristel
* 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.
* FromNobodyToNightmare: Delmar, as he says, used to be a soccer player before becoming an homicidal insane mercenary.
* 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.
* HairTriggerTemper: Some of the villains are prone to fits of rage, particularly [[VillainousBreakdown Travers]], [[MeanBrit Delmar]] and [[ScaryBlackMan Kynette]].
* HateSink: The terrorists' somewhat unlikable [[MoralEventHorizon actions]] and [[{{Jerkass}} attitudes]] tends fall into this.
* {{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.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: [[BadassBystander Matheson]] would have been TheHero in another film.
* HonorBeforeReason
* IKnowMaddenKombat: Delmar uses his soccer skills to kick the crap out of Hal.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: Kynette's end at the point of a stalactite - right after suffering a well deserved GroinAttack.
* {{Jerkass}}: Tucker, who's more of a JerkassWoobie and a JerkWithAHeartOfGold.
** The terrorists themselves also, with Qualen, Travers, Kynette and Delmar being the biggest {{Jerkass}}es out of the group, while Kristel, Ryan and Heldon, despite having little screen time and characterization, also show some shades of this. Plus, what also make them all count is that throughout the film, they fight amongst themselves and hurl insults at one another, which is also why Qualen counts as a BadBoss. In short, they're much worse then Tucker.
* JerkassRealization: See HeelRealization above.
* JerkJock: Delmar, who proclaims himself as an ex-soccer player, while torturing Tucker and acting sadistically {{Badass}}.
* KnightOfCerebus: Qualen and his posse are considered to be this in comparisons to other villainous gangs in DieHardOnAnX movies. This group is made up of straight up {{Jerkass}}es who all fall into a HateSink in contrast to other action movie villains who are FauxAffablyEvil towards TheHero, plus this film was [[WhatCouldHAveBeen originally rated]] ''NC-17'' due to the gang's brutality and the {{Karmic Death}}s each member received, which is saying something, implying they are more physically brutal and a force not to be reckon with when inflicting horror and violence against their opposers then the other bad guys, [[ExecutiveMeddling trimming down their violence to get an R rating]] only eliminate some of the details of their atrocities.
* LargeHam: "You want to kill me, Tucker? Well take a number and ''get in line!''"
** Also, "DAMN YOU WALKER!!"
** ''"Time to kill 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.
* MeanBrit: Delmar.
* MeanCharacterNiceActor: You may also know Eric Qualen as Creator/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''.
** Also, despite the MeanBrit {{Sadist}} nature of Delmar, his actor Craig Fairbrass is said in real life to be very kind and incredibly personable, especially in interviews for upcoming projects.
* 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.
** The look on Kynette's face when, after dominating his fight with Walker, he goes too far by boasting about all the horrible things he'll do to Walker's girlfriend, at which point Walker grabs Kynette by his crotch, hefts him up over his head and then Kynette sees that he's about to be impaled on a stalactite.
** The look on Delmar's face when, after sadistically beating Hal to a pulp and almost sending him falling to his death, Hal stabs him in the leg, shattering his manly self-image, and then realizes that Hal [[spoiler:is about to shoot him with his own gun.]]
* PluckyComicRelief: Brett and Evan.
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: Delmar describes Kynette as a "black bastard."
* 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 Englishman 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 and both enjoy dragging out their fights just for their own gratification.
** Travers himself literally becomes this near the end of film, when he undergoes his SanitySlippage and VillainousBreakdown with Qualen calling him out for losing his mind.
** Ironically, Qualen himself is crazy too. One of the FBI agents in-universe even calls him psychotic, while Travers calls him crazy when referring to Qualen's killing of Kristel.
* 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.
* SacrificialLion: Matheson and [[spoiler: Frank]]
* SanitySlippage: Travers undergoes this when he succumbs to his VillainousBreakdown, with Qualen lampshading on it when speaking to him one last time.
* 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
* TheStarscream: Travers attempts to be this until Qualen took the upper hand and regains command.
* TakeMyHand: Gabe tries to save Tucker's girlfriend this way. It doesn't work.
* ThisIsForEmphasisBitch: See BondOneLiner and PreMortemOneLiner above.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Brett and Evan, the two friendly extreme sports enthusiasts.
* TooDumbToLive: Kynette and Delmar might have lived to steal and terrorize another day if they had just done away with Gabe and Hal quickly and quietly instead of dragging out their fights just for their own gratification. [[spoiler:Instead Kynette receives a very karmic attack on his privates before being impaled and Delmar gets a knife in the leg before Hal shoots him.]]
* TheUnfettered: Qualen wants the money at all costs. Any bystander is just an inconvenience to him and his own men are just pawns. [[spoiler: Even Kristel, his lover and possibly the less sadistic member of his gang is not safe from him as he kills her just to remain the only one pilot.]]
* 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.
** And from Quelen: "DAMN YOU WALKER!!"
* YouHaveOutLivedYourUsefulness: Threatened, but never actually done. Mainly because the characters take steps to ensure [[GenreSavvy they don't outlive their usefulness]].
** [[spoiler: Plays straight when Qualan shoots dead loyal pilot Kristel after serving him well just for Qualen to show who's boss towards Travers when the latter attempts to become TheStarscream.]]