Sylvester Stallone is one of the best action stars of the 80s and 90s starring in roles like Rocky, Rambo, Demolition Man, Assassins, etc. His career seemed to be at the peak when Cliffhanger was filmed. With this being said let’s dig into what’s inside this disc.
Whether you realize it or not, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were the biggest action stars in the 80s and 90s. Who can’t remember Stallone’s Rambo? Really, there are plenty of roles that you can remember seeing him shooting, kicking butt, and simply blowing stuff up. Cliffhanger is not too far from the same theme that made Stallone famous. Although I do have to say that I had not seen Stallone clinging for his life in the mountains before, regardless the film remains action packed. Cliffhanger features Stallone doing what he does best kick serious butt and get the girl at the end.
Cliffhanger begins with a normal rescue mission gone wrong, when Gabe Walker (Stallone) failed attempt to save Hal’s (Michael Rooker) girlfriend from falling to her death, Gabe leaves town. A year later on his return, Jessie Deighan (Jenine Turner) convinces Gabe to join the team for a rescue mission. Gabe is soon reunited with Hal, who remains bitter over his dead girlfriend and still blames Gabe for her death; the two make their way over to meet with the victims. Little did Gabe and Hal know, the victims turn out to be a group of organized criminals who are looking for three (3) briefcases with $100,000,000 and now the duo must find a way to escape and survive what lies ahead of them.
First of all Cliffhanger has plenty of eye candy, what do I mean? There are plenty of impressive and beautiful scenery shots. The snowy white mountains are always a nice sight. The film adapts the story using it atmosphere very nice. I must say I am impress, Harlin’s vision and spot on change of location of shooting really paid off as the outcome was on a grandiose scale. The story is action packed, your typical Stallone film. Although I was thrown off by John Lithgow’s (Qualen) bad guy casting, after his appearance on 3rd Rock From the Sun I was surprised to see him be bad guy. Took me some minutes to sort-of make peace with the idea. However, Lithgow did a great job, as so did the entire cast.
Cliffhanger arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-4/AVC framed at 2.40:1. This is perhaps the best looking Cliffhanger version that I’ve seen to date. The nice imagery shown throughout is amazing, the colors and vibrant that fit quite nicely with the mostly white scenery. The details are also well reproduced whether the texture on the rocks or the facial details, it’s all there. The skin tones appear a bit pale, but that’s possibly because of the frigid conditions. There is some artifacts that appear on screen, there are also scenes that appear soft. All these issues appear to be contributed to the age of the film. Regardless of the issues, Cliffhanger looks damn good.
Cliffhanger arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track. While the video is lacking somewhat, the audio is a treat. The dialogue is clean and crisp; the audiotrack seems to be able to reproduce it without a single problem. The helicopter buzzes through your soundstage making you think it’s right above you. The audiotrack delivers every thump from every bullet shot every action found throughout is exceptionally reproduced. There are really no complaints found here.
Unlike the other action film released along Cliffhanger, Last Action Hero, there are some supplements found in the disc. Although none of the extras are in high definition, other than the movie trailers, it’s nice to see some effort being done for this release. Check below for a list of supplements.
A Personal Introduction from Renny Harlin – Features origins of the movie and how the Director’s involvement.
Audio Commentary – Features Director Renny Harlin and Actor Sylvester Stallone, the director talks about the films tone and the importance of the opening shot. There’s some discussion about the dangers surround the shooting location and using real actors for each stunt. Sylvester Stallone is recorded later and he shares some insights on a few of scenes of the film.
Audio Commentary – Features Editor Frank Urioste, Co-Visual Effects Supervisors Neil Krepela and John Bruno, and Production Designer John Vallone. The commentary is more about the technical side of the film from special effects to the editing.
Stallone on the Edge: The Making of “Cliffhanger” – Features some behind the scenes footage, some interview clips, and more.
Special Effects – Features a look at the films special effects.
Storyboard Comparisons – A look at several finished scenes along their storyboard counterparts.
Deleted Scenes –Two deleted scenes are included: “King’s Leap” and “Ice Climb”.
Movie Trailers – Features Snatch, The Da Vinci Code, Ghostbusters, A River Runs Through It, Michael Jackson’s This Is It, Zombieland, The Stepfather, Armored, Damages: Season One, The Damned United, District 9, Black Dynamite, Moon, and Felon.
Cliffhanger couldn’t have arrived on Blu-ray in a better fashion. Cliffhanger comes with a decent video and top audio lossless track. There are plenty of supplements for those looking for something more after the ending credits role and even more for the true fans of the film. The film is action packed and features some incredible imagery plus some sensational stunts. Sylvester Stallone is easily one of the best of the action genre, I assure you can’t go wrong with Cliffhanger. Comes highly recommended.