Vertical Limit is the kind of movie that works best in trailer format: summarize the plot in a few broad gestures and populate the screen with heart-stopping action. No time for character development or subtle themes. Compress the spectacle and leave the audience wanting more. Strung out over 110 minutes, Vertical Limit often reaches its own, but not without some inspired mountaintop action sequences.
Peter Garrett (Chris O'Donnell) must rescue his sister (Robin Tunney) and the smarmy billionaire who accompanied her on a risky climbing stunt of legendary Himalayan peak K2. One of the many cliches is that Peter, once a gifted climber, has retired after a horrible accident. The motley rescue party encounters an endless barrage of difficulties and barely explicable pyrotechnics but still finds time to harbor assassination schemes and steal romantic moments in the thinning mountain air.