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 Breaker: Travers, some give him credit for the astonishing, world record-breaking aerial plane transfer at the beginning of the film, while those despise him for being a whining and ill-tempered Jerkass Big Bad Wannabe he acted throughout the film up to his Sanity Slippage and Villainous Breakdown.
  • 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.
  • 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 to find the cases. When he and his henchmen locate the first case, Qualen take 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 come 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, so he can be the only one who can bring them out the mountains. 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.
    • Delmar is the most sadistic terrorist in Qualen's gang. Unlike Qualen, who is motivated by greed, Delmar is a Terrorist Without A Cause. When two teenagers are there to do base jumping, Delmar chuckles when his fellow terrorist, Kynette, shoots one of them and hands Kynette over a weapon to kill another one. In a later scene, Delmar sadistically guns down Frank, who was trying to help him and other terrorists, thinking they were people in need. He later tortures Hal using him as a soccer ball in order to practice his kicking technique.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: The very karmic deaths of the villains.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Frank, who happens to be the most kindest character in this film who is a painter-wannabe that has spent the rest of the film trying to locate Walker, Tucker and Jessie, which made his Dropped a Bridge on Him death a Tear Jerker.
  • Evil Is Cool: Kynette, for being the most intimidating and formidable henchman out of Qualen's group.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Sarah, Tucker's girlfriend, meets a truly horrific demise at the beginning of the film. Her climbing rig malfunctions and despite Walker's best efforts to try and save her, she plummets to her death.
    • Ax-Crazy Kynette, especially his bloody Slasher Smile when he was about to kill Walker in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
    • Delmar's soccer torture given to Tucker.
    • The characters of Kynette and Delmar would not look out of place as villains of a Slasher Movie such as Scream or as villains of a Wes Craven horror flick, especially the sadism of Delmar with his Evil Laughter and Slasher Smile and Kynette being a rabid Knife Nut and his appearance when he advances towards Walker with blood coming out of his mouth while he gloats about going to kill him and sports a hunting knife that Ghostface would later use, creating the illusion that Kynette is literally a bloodthirsty killer.
    • Cliffhanger's rough cut was originally NC-17 rated, before cutting down to an R rating, mostly the revolving around the actions of the terrorists and the Pay Evil unto Evil consequences they received as a result, thus Qualen and his goons would be considered to be a Knight of Cerebus group in comparisons to other villains in Die Hard on an X films due to the brutal means they inflict terror onto others. Thanks to director Renny Harlin, who himself had already created a Knight of Cerebus in Die Hard 2.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Tucker is played by Merle.
  • 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.