YMMV / Cliffhanger

YMMV items related to the film Cliffhanger:

  • Awesome Music: Trevor Jones's stirring score, especially the seven-minute-plus end title version of the main theme.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
  • Broken Base: The film has been criticised for its unrealistic portrayal of rock climbing. One example is the feature of the bolt-gun which fires bolts directly into rock, forgoing the usual rock-drilling and bolt-hammering used in rock-climbing. This ignores certain material properties of rock that should cause the bolt-gun's impact site to shatter and explode with flaky projectiles. The bolt gun is considered the most serious of the film's technical inaccuracies. Further examples are showing athletic moves, which have no use in real climbing, or free soloing with then also completely useless gear.
  • Catharsis Factor: It's very satisfying to see the villains getting what's coming to them after witnessing their atrocities and mean-spiritedness throughout the movie.
  • Complete Monster: Eric Qualen is an ex-federal agent turned international terrorist who attempts to steal $100 million, leading to the deaths of three agents and one pilot, and has no problem killing anyone who stands in his way, even his own men. After he loses the three cases full of money and his plane crashes, he takes the mountain guides Gabriel "Gabe" Walker and his friend Hal Tucker as hostages so they can help him find the cases. When he and his henchmen locate the first case, Qualen takes Walker's coat off to make sure he won't escape, thus making him almost freeze to death. He eventually decides to kill him anyway once he comes back. When two teenagers spot him, Qualen has his men murder them, simply commenting in a sadistic tone "Sue me" when Tucker calls him out. Qualen later kills his lover, informing her that true love is sacrifice. He plans on killing Tucker when he is no longer needed and later kidnaps Walker's girlfriend Jesse, threatening to drop her in the ravines if Walker won't give him the case. During the final fight on the helicopter, hanging on a deep chasm, Qualen has a Villainous Breakdown and attempts to make the helicopter fall, taking Walker with him.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: The very karmic deaths of the villains.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
  • Evil Is Cool:
  • Fridge Logic: While providing the movie with enough mooks for Walker to take down one by one, you have to wonder why Qualen needed at least five heavily armed mercenaries who's sole role during the airplane heist would have been nothing but to sit around if it had gone according to plan.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Craig Fairbrass' character killing a character named Frank is ironic, considering Fairbrass previously played a character with the same first name on first season of the TV show Prime Suspect.
    • It can also be considered ironic to see Tucker vs. Delmar in a showdown scene, since the actors who played the aforementioned characters, Michael Rooker and Craig Fairbrass, would both later play The Lancer in the Call of Duty franchise. So otherwise, this scene can be viewed as Mike Harper vs. Gaz/Ghost/Wallcroft or game production studio-wise, a Treyarch mo-cap actor vs. an Infinity Ward voice actor.
      • Fairbrass plays a character, which was part of his early typecasting at the time with For Queen and Country and the television show Prime Suspect being other examples, who is a Politically Incorrect Villain who hates Scary Black Man Kynette's guts and lashes out racial slurs against him like "boy" and "black bastard." Then in 2016, Fairbrass would later make a cameo appearance in the Call of Duty franchise's latest installment Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare at the first level as a black NPC ally character named Tee, ironic much.
    • Speaking of Frank, Rex Linn and Craig Fairbrass, who both played two of the villains, both played police detectives with the first name Frank on crime drama television shows (Fairbrass played DI Frank Burkin on Prime Suspect, while Linn would later be renowned for his role as Det. Frank Tripp on CSI: Miami).
    • Originally, this project was meant to be a John Hughes-directed comedy starring Stallone and John Candy. Interestingly, Leon, who plays The Dragon Kynette who gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by Stallone, would later around the same year the film was released star opposite Candy in the Disney film Cool Runnings.
    • Walker and Tucker would go on to be old friends IN SPACE!
  • Iron Woobie: Walker, he is overcome with grief from his failure to save his best friend's girlfriend, captured by Qualen's goons who stripped him of his jacket and bolt gun that left him vulnerable to the cold and finds himself a living target for the villains to hunt down.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Tucker, as he blames Walker for his failure to save Sarah, which is understandable as Sarah was Tucker's girlfriend and Tucker loves her so, as most of his anger towards Walker is out of grief and the fact he had to bear witness first hand Sarah's death and Walker's inability to save her. He becomes more of a Butt-Monkey later in the film when is forced to be a guide for Qualen's posse, bullied around, Forced to Watch them kill two of his colleagues that he later protested against before being on the receiving end of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown given by one of Qualen's goons.
    • Travers, who is bossed around by his fellow goons throughout the film and is a Big Bad Wannabe who attempts to be The Starscream when he couldn't take any more of this lack of respect anymore before Qualen gets the upper hand. What Travers goes through during the film would contribute to his eventual Sanity Slippage (which is lampshaded by Qualen to Travers when speaking to him for the last time) and Villainous Breakdown when Walker outsmarts him.
  • Love to Hate: While most of the Moral Event Horizon actions and Jerkass behaviors of the terrorists fall into a Hate Sink (especially when it comes to killing off a Plucky Comic Relief and a beloved Cool Old Guy or just being outright mean-spirited towards their enemies and each other), you got to admit, the acting of Leon and Craig Fairbrass comes off as somewhat badass when it comes to playing the Co-Dragons, from Kynette's martial arts-laden No-Holds-Barred Beatdown given to juggernaut Stallone, to Fairbrass' soccer game wisecracks when torturing Tucker to give him a unique, slow and agonizing death. Even though they meant to be a Hate Sink as the rest of their posse, they also border on Evil Is Cool, especially the presence of Craig Fairbrass.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Renny Harlin makes you hate Qualen and his fellows so much that you'll cheer when they all meet their ends.
  • Narm:
    • In about half the death scenes, you wonder if Renny Harlin thought he was making an Oscar Bait Tearjerker rather than an action movie.
    • Speaking of which, Frank's facial expression during the failed rescue scene at the beginning was off, like he was smiling...
  • Narm Charm: Walker defeating Kynette with a well timed Groin Attack.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Tear Jerker: Tucker's girlfriend's horrifying demise, Walker's grief, and Frank's murder.
  • Too Cool to Live: Matheson, Kynette, Frank and Delmar.
  • What an Idiot: Seriously, Kynette and Delmar both pretty much had their victories over the heroes in the bag after curb stomping both Gabe and Hal with relative ease, and they probably would have won if they both hadn't been so cocky just to act like menacing Slasher Movie villains and to outright show off being badasses and that Evil Is Cool. Or if, you know, they had just killed Gabe and Hal right away instead of dragging it out with the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Instead both fall victim to Bond Villain Stupidity - Kynette shoots his mouth off about how he'll torment Gabe's girlfriend before killing her and Delmar just pointlessly drags out Hal's beating by narrating all his moves like a sports announcer. The results? An enraged Gabe grabs Kynette by the balls and impales him on a stalactite, while Hal stabs Delmar in the leg and then shoots the bastard with his own gun.
  • The Woobie: Poor Sarah and Frank.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/CliffHanger