Cliffhanger (Blu-ray)

When an equipment malfunction takes the life of an inexperienced climber, Gabe (Sylvester Stallone) places the blame upon himself and loses not only his best friend (Michael Rooker), but his girl (Janine Turner) too. Almost a year later, he is asked to go back to the same mountain range and rescue a group of stranded people, but when they turn out to be a band of criminals led by an international terrorist (John Lithgow) a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues.

I hadn't seen this film since its theatrical run in 1993 and it holds up surprisingly well after nearly 20 years. Stallone was in great shape and fast-paced action has always been his suited genre since First Blood. Sure, the dialog is cringe-inducing but the photography is marvelous, Lithgow is a ruthless enemy, and Stallone is well…Stallone.

Sony has had a great track record of releasing stellar Blu-ray titles, and this AVC encode is very good and keeps its reputation intact. Colors are vibrant, especially red and green, although the contrast is a tad hot in a few scenes. The print is in fabulous shape for a film from the early 1990s and grain is nonexistent. In some ways, the video looks like some HD material from Discovery Channel because it's so clean and the Rocky Mountain surroundings certainly help reinforce the message. My only real gripe is the CGI, which is pretty weak and sticks out like a sore thumb.

Surprisingly, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack doesn't for one minute show its age. It's very dynamic with exceptional sound design and is one of the most engaging tracks I've heard from a catalog title. The rear soundstage has plenty of presence and the frequency response is top-notch.

The supplements includes two commentary tracks; one with director Renny Harlin and Sylvester Stallone, the other with a with the crew. Other features include an introduction from the director, a couple of deleted scenes, a making-of featurettes, a look at the special effects, some storyboard comparisons, and the theatrical trailer (HD). The disc also is BD-Live enabled and includes Movie IQ that connects to the Internet and provides interesting production facts about Cliffhanger while viewing the film.

While I wouldn't rate this as a Stallone classic, it has stood the test of time and is entertaining (albeit farfetched). The video presentation is phenomenal given its age and the DTS-HD MA audio track is an aural pleasure. Recommended for fans.

Release Date: January 12, 2009
Studio: Sony

Movie: 6/10
Picture: 8/10
Sound: 9/10

Review System

Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player

JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 power amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner

M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics