Director: Renny Harlin
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Michael Rooker
Release Date: May 30, 2023
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Michael Rooker, Janine Turner and Ralph Waite star in this high-altitude avalanche of action: a non-stop adventure peak with suspense and capped with heart-quaking terror. For Rocky Mountain Rescue, the mission is almost routine: locate five climbers. With the woman he loves (Turner) and his best friend (Rooker), Gabe Walker (Stallone) braves the icy peaks only to discover that the distress call is really a trap set by merciless international terrorist Eric Qualen (Lithgow). Now millions of dollars and their own lives hang in the balance. Against explosive firepower, bitter cold, and dizzying heights, Walker must outwit Qualen in a deadly game of hide-and-seek.
Please Note: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Cliffhanger’ follows Rocky Mountain Rescue worker Gabe Walker (Stallone) who after a tragic loss that he blames himself for disappears from the world he is most familiar with. Upon his return some time later, Gabe joins his old friend on a rescue call which ends up being a trap orchestrated by a dangerous team of thieves and killers who crash landed on the icy peaks after an in-air plane-to-plane robbery went wrong and now expect the rescue team to help them reclaim the stolen loot. After barely escaping their clutches, Gabe sets out on a new quest; to locate all of their money before they can and use it as a means to get his old friend back, but unfortunately these deadly villains aren’t going down without a fight.
‘Cliffhanger’ was directed by Renny Harlin who is certainly no stranger to the action genre, from a screenplay written by Michael France and Sylvester Stallone, a screen story by Michael France and Based on a Premise by John Long, with Harlin doing a great job of guiding along the nail-biting action and excitement throughout. The cast of the film includes Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Michael Rooker, Janine Turner, Leon, Paul Winfield and Ralph Waite who each do their own part to help make this one work as capably as it does, not to mention still holding up tremendously well three decades after its initial release.
‘Cliffhanger’ was first unleashed upon audiences in 1993 and delivered a fun, wildly exciting and intense ride that still holds up splendidly today. I can still recall first experiencing ‘Cliffhanger’ in my early teenage years when it first hit home video and being blown away by the thrilling action combined with the beautiful scenery, unique location and an altogether clever approach that largely sees a cat and mouse game played out amid icy, snow-capped mountains and I’m equally impressed with just how remarkably well it manages to still hold up today, delivering all of the gut-wrenching tension and thrilling action and excitement that I remember from my youth; not to mention a truly sinister performance by John Lithgow which hasn’t become any less terrifying in the years since. If you’ve never had the pleasure of ‘Cliffhanger’ but tend to enjoy a well-crafted action movie with some marvelous fight sequences and a unique setting for the chaos to play out amid, then I can’t encourage you strongly enough to try and make a point of checking this one out whenever possible.
In celebration of the film’s 30th Anniversary, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brings ‘Cliffhanger’ onto 4K Ultra HD disc once again in a new Limited Edition Steelbook that features an outstanding new Ultra High Definition video presentation with Dolby Vision and HDR-10 and approved by director Renny Harlin. The new video presentation looks truly fantastic across the board and is only splendidly complemented by an accompanying Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that’s as aggressive and hard hitting as they come, especially for a slightly older film such as this. The new release also features a nice collection of bonus content including some never before seen Deleted and Extended Scenes from the movie, along with various legacy extras on the included Blu-ray disc; all packaged in a very nice, sturdy Steelbook case that should have fans quite pleased. If you’re already considering a purchase of this one it’s definitely highly recommended, and any fully 4K capable fans of the film who don’t already own it on the format may also want to consider a purchase of this rewarding new release.
The 30th Anniversary 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook release of ‘Cliffhanger’ features a new, full 2160p Ultra High Definition video presentation with Dolby Vision and HDR-10, presented in its original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio and approved by director Renny Harlin. The new video presentation looks magnificent as a whole and delivers a beautifully rich, sharp and filmic presentation from start to finish that’s absent of any unexpected issues or troubles to be uncovered throughout. Everything within looks wonderful and immaculately detailed from facial specifics and clothing down to the expansive snowy mountains and surroundings which each show an impressive level of clarity across the board. The Dolby Vision addition only improves upon it all and provides a gorgeous color palette with gloriously white snow and vibrant, green grass, plus many other elements and aspects that tend to really stand out in the best way possible here, all nicely complemented by deep, rich black levels. Overall, this is an outstanding Ultra High Definition video presentation that only impresses every step of the way and should easily thrill the fans.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack may not be new to this release, but that’s certainly no reason to be disappointed because it serves up a clean, crisp and wildly aggressive audio presentation throughout that contributes plenty of extra fun and excitement to the viewing experience. It repeatedly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to send helicopters and gunshots, along with weather effects and a whole lot more consistently whipping throughout the various speakers at every logical opportunity, while still making certain that all dialogue and other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously along the way remain sharp, clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a fantastic Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that sounds great at every turn and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Limited Edition 30th Anniversary 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook release of ‘Cliffhanger’ features a handful of notable extras including one brand new extra and various previously released extras. The 4K UHD disc includes numerous never-before-seen ‘Deleted and Extended Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 10 minutes in length altogether), while the Blu-ray release also includes an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Renny Harlin and Sylvester Stallone’, along with a second ‘Audio Commentary with the Technical Crew’ and some other ‘Deleted Scenes with introduction by Renny Harlin’ (approximately 8 minutes combined). Also included on the Blu-ray disc is ‘A Personal Introduction from Renny Harlin’ (running approximately 5 minutes), ‘Stallone on the Edge: The Making of Cliffhanger’ (approximately 20 minutes), in addition to looks at the ‘Special Effects’ (approximately 7 minutes altogether) and ‘Storyboard Comparisons’ for 3 scenes (12 minutes combined). The ‘Original Theatrical Trailer with Introduction by Renny Harlin’ (5 minutes overall) is also included.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray disc included in the 4K UHD Combo Pack and resized. They do not represent the quality of the 4K Ultra HD disc itself and will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on the 4K UHD & Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
‘Cliffhanger’ 30th Anniversary Edition is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD as A Limited Edition Steelbook from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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