Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cliffhanger Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 40.8 GB
Film Size: 32.3 GB
Film Rating: R
Region: ABC

Cliffhanger comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The movie actually looks a lot better than I expected it to look on Blu-ray. The film does have some very soft moments and the quality varies from scene to scene, but I have to blame the source and filming locations rather than the transfer.

The soft scenes feature very little detail but rest assured it is not due to DNR, but rather just how the film has always looked. There are also many scenes that are quite impressive, at times looking like they were filmed recently.
Colors on this release are good; they look very natural and significantly stronger than the previous DVD release. Detail can also shine when a scene allows it to; many clearly cold situations perhaps made everything look a bit more on the softer side.

I thought fine detail was lacking, skin textures and clothing never really impress. I do not blame the high-def transfer at all for the disappointing moments as everything appears to be free of any tampering. Despite the few issues I had, the Blu-ray easily improves upon the DVD in so many ways that viewers will definitely appreciate.

If you are looking to upgrade your DVD I would definitely recommend it for visuals alone, I honestly don’t see the film looking much better than it does now. I think Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has done a good job at presenting the film like it should be and I applaud them for that. 7.5/10.

An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included, as well as a French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. The mix is very good and attention was clearly paid to detail. The film will have your surround speakers quite active, I think all effects are well placed and feature great direction.

The little details such as a helicopter flying above from the rears and traveling towards the front, the film’s aggressive and exciting score both impress from the very beginning. There is not really a scene that feels flat; everything is always crisp and clear. Dialogue is always easy to understand and the mix is perfectly balanced.

The track from beginning to end will keep you on the edge of your seat for this top notch action film, and the experience on Blu-ray only makes it that much better. I’m very impressed by the quality of this track and I’m sure you will be too. 9/10.


Connect to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie. You must have a BD-Live connected Blu-ray player to use MovieIQ.

Audio Commentary
With Director Renny Harlin and Sylvester Stallone.

Audio Commentary
With the technical crew.

A Personal Introduction from Renny Harlin (4:53) (SD)
Director Renny Harlin talks about originally turning down the script because he didn’t want to do another action film. He also talks about filming locations ad difficulties that came with filming at the locations that they did.

Deleted Scenes (8:19) (SD)
Two deleted scenes are included with an introduction from Director Renny Harlin prior to them.

Stallone on the Edge: The Making of Cliffhanger (20:02) (SD)
A behind-the-scenes featurette presented in standard-definition. This feature is actually very entertaining and interesting. We get to see how they did certain scenes and it mainly focuses on Stallone.

Special Effects (7:25) (SD)
Sarah’s Fall
Helicopter Explosion

Storyboard Comparisons (12:01) (SD)
Sarah’s Fall
Air-to-Air Zip Line
Helicopter Explosion

Original Theatrical Trailer (SD/HD)
The theatrical trailer is presented in high-definition and includes an optional standard-definition introduction from Director Renny Harlin.

Previews (HD)

The extras on this release are mostly ports from the previous DVD release but they are still very strong features to this day. The behind-the-scenes footage is great for a film like this and the Director clearly cared about the bonus features for home video release. MovieIQ is added for those who like to get up-to-date information on the film and the actors involved. 7/10.

Blu-news Summary
Cliffhanger is a wild-ride; it’s intense and filled with action and suspense from beginning to end. The movie starts off with a crew climbing and an inexperienced climber named Sarah.

Everything appears to be fine until Sarah finds herself slowly unhooking from the line with nowhere to go but down, that’s where Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone) comes into the picture as he quickly travels down the line in hopes of saving the girl.

Unfortunately for everyone he is unsuccessful, causing Gabe to stop climbing and go away for a while. I can’t imagine anyone reacting normally to a situation like that, with someone begging you to not let go of them and ultimately dropping them to their death.

Lots of time passes and Gabe finds himself needed to rescue a group of people trapped in the area. Using his climbing techniques he sets off to rescue them with his friend. Little do they know, the people they are rescuing are criminals hoping to retrieve a dropped case with millions of dollars.

Gabe manages to escape but his friend is held captive. He finds himself in the adventure of his life as he sets out to both stop the criminals and save his friend from being killed, all taking place on the most dangerous locations.

John Lithgow plays the evil Eric Qualen, and he does such a fantastic job with the character. Having recently seen him play the killer on the latest season of Dexter, I have definitely gained much more respect for him as an actor than I ever had in the past.

The movie’s theme is original enough and I honestly enjoyed every minute revisiting the film, as it’s been quite some time since I had last seen it. The movie is not very old but other films around it’s time definitely don’t hold up as well as Cliffhanger does. It’s a very fun action movie that is definitely worth checking out if you have not seen it yet. 8.5/10.

The Blu-ray release is quite strong featuring an accurate video presentation and dazzling DTS-HD Master Audio track. Extras are recycled but entertaining and feature plenty to see. Overall Cliffhanger on Blu-ray is ‘Recommended’ to all.

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