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CLIFFHANGER

title: CLIFFHANGER
year: 1993
cast: Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Janine Turner
rating: ***1/2

The opening scene, as intrepid rescue worker Sylvester Stallone attempts saving a woman hanging onto a cable connected from a really high mountaintop to a helicopter, sets a nice stage to one of the better (or perhaps the only decent) Sly action flicks during the 1990s. Cut to a group of T-MEN embarking on a plane trip to move three suitcases of money, and wouldn’t you know: they just happen to crash on the same mountain where Stallone had worked before quitting and, eight months later, returning for his woman, who's content with the same job as a rescuer who, along with Michael Rooker, Ralph Waite and a reluctant Stallone, is thrust into “saving” the plane-wrecked villains led by a really nasty John Lithgow, wanting that cash residing in various locations throughout the storm-ridden mountaintops. And it’s up to Stallone and Rooker to recover it, or else. Stallone makes for a worthy action hero, which is no surprise, but since you can tell he’s doing most of his own stunts in genuinely dangerous settings, his physicality, along with Renny Harlin’s weaving camera, makes for a star-director collaboration that, although loaded with corny dialog, is a fun ride. With every scene there’s another goon to thwart (including Rex Linn in a great performance) and a new peak to climb. Janine Turner is more than eye-candy as Stallone’s independently daring girlfriend, while John Lithgow not only chews the scenery but blows bubbles with it. And that's okay – because even the silly stuff works.
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