A Mountain Movie That Scales No Peaks

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A Mountain Movie That Scales No Peaks

"Vertical Limit" opened in Korea last weekend. It starts with a flash-back to a horrifying rock climbing situation and the decision Peter Garrett (Chris O'Donnell) makes to cut his father's line loose. Though he keeps in touch with his sister Annie (Robin Tunney), she still blames him for the decision that may have saved their lives.

Three years later, Peter gets a chance to redeem himself when he
organizes a mission to rescue Annie, who is trapped on the world's second-highest mountain, K2. It is the second-highest peak in the Karakoram range and at 8,600 meters, is exceeded only by Everest.

Critics have mostly lambasted this movie, but for people who love
man-against-nature films based around mountain peaks, here are oth-er films about survival in a mountain setting.


Directed by Renny Harlin. Starring Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow,
Michael Rooker, Janine Turner, Paul Winfield and Ralph Waites

Qualen (Lithgow) leads a band of criminals to hijack a U.S. Treasury
plane carrying $100 million. While transferring the three suitcases of money mid-air to another plane in a breathtaking stunt, the plane crashes on top of a snow-covered mountain. The money lands somewhere over what is supposed to be the Rocky Mountains although the scene was actually shot in the Alps.

The criminals send a fake distress signal. Gabe Walker (Stallone) and Hal Tucker (Rooker) answer the call and are forced to help retrieve the cash. Gabe escapes to find his girl friend, the helicopter pilot Jessie (Turner), and the pair set off to find
Qualen for the inevitable showdown.

Alive (1993)

Directed by Frank Marshall. Starring Ethan Hawke, Vincent Spano,
Josh Hamilton, Bruce Ramsay and John Haymes Newton.

Based on a book by Piers Paul Read about athletes trapped on the
Andes who are forced to resort to cannibalism to survive. Read's book is a true account of a plane that crashed while taking a football team and its family members from Uruguay to Chile in October 1972. Sixteen of the 37 passengers were rescued two months later.

In the movie, the captain of the team, Antonio Balbi (Spano), takes
control after the crash. Injuries are serious and medical student Roberto Canessa (Hamilton) helps as much as he can. Days become weeks; the survivors are on the mountain for 72 days in all. Food supplies dwindle and the weak start to die.

Finally, those left trek across the forbidding peaks in search of civilization and help.

K2: The Ultimate High (1992)

Directed by Franc Roddam. Starring Taylor Brooks, Harold Jamison,
Phillip Claiborne, Dalls Woolf, Jacki Metcalfe, Takane Shimuzi, Malik Khan and Cindy Jamison.

While climbing Moose's Tooth, a peak in Alaska – the scene is actually shot in Vancouver – mountain climbers and friends Michael Biehn (Brooks) and Matt Craven (Jamison) meet a group practicing for the Big One: K2.

Biehn has been dreaming of climbing K2, nicknamed Savage Mountain, and begs the party to take him and Craven with them.

They refuse, but after several team members conveniently die, the
two are recruited.

"K2" was filmed in remote mountain locations in Canada and
northern Pakistan. During filming, helicopters ferried cast, crew and all supplies to remote locations.

by Joe Yong-hee

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