Why I Got into Climbing and Why All Those Reasons are the Movie Cliffhanger

Is this a review? MaAAAAybe.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before, but one of the quintessential movies that inspired me to climb is Free Solo.

Haha, see what I did there? That was a joke assuming you’ve read the title of this article. I am hilarious. 

Obviously, the movie that would ruminate in my brain for years until I eventually got on a wall is not the inspiring true tale of Alex Honnold but the fake AF adventure of Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, and that blue guy from Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Now, if you’ve read some of my other stuff, you already know that it’s been YEARS since I’ve seen the movie in its entirety. If it were to be on TV, my family developed this habit where we’d just watch the first ten minutes and start milling out of the room after that girl falls to her death.

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Maybe we have issues? That’s for another article. But anyway, for ALL OF YOU, I decided to watch Cliffhangeras an adult. The whole thing. Past the interesting bit. You’re welcome. I’m also drinking some wine. You’re welcome more.

So, actually, I guess I should change the title of the post to something like, “Review of Cliffhanger,” but that might not suck you in, so I won’t.


If you have never seen this movie, let me tell you, the beginning puts our dear Alex TO SHAME. Sylvester is here free soloing on some mad overhang LIKE A BOSS. 

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He’s part of a rescue crew that’s saving Yondu and Yondu’s girlfriend from a cliff. You see, Yondu brought an inexperienced climber on what seems to be a very difficult climb…AND he had a bad knee. Learn from these mistakes, my friends. Shit’s getting bad.

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Ok, I’ll just get right to it. The girl falls. Like, you knew that. I said it at the beginning. This rescue crew brought her the cheapest ass harness that just broke off while she was on this line. Where are these tax dollars going to?? 

Anyway, Sly tried to hold onto her when her harness broke but he couldn’t do it. There’s been many a-heated debates on if the Italian Stallion could have REALLY pulled her up given his massive arms, (maybe he just wasn’t putting his all into it?) but, we’re left with the unknown.

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Girl, men just always disappoint you, don’t they, girl? I MEAN. Trash.

So now we have poor, distraught Yondu, who is incredibly angry with Sylvester. He really should be mad at this old guy though, because he clearly found the whole situation quite amusing.

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Bitch, what’s funny?

See I’ve already written too much and this was just the beginning of the movie. Stay with me and there are rewards in it for you, I promise.

Fast forward to about a year later. Sylvester is depressed. Him and his lady aren’t together anymore. His friend hates him. We meet these two guys who give us the most iconic lines in the move: “We like it extreme!” “Work? Don’t say that word, man!”

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Don’t…don’t get too attached

Then there’s some nonsense with the treasury. Blah, blah, blah. John Lithgow and his cronies are stealing a bunch of money off an airplane that’s transporting briefcases of cold, hard cash. His plan goes wrong when the money not only falls off the plane, but they crash in the nearby mountains. We get the first one-liner of many horrible one-liners that Lithgow, I imagine, was forced to deliver.

“He’s injured. Better get him to a hospital-FAST” -John as he yeets a man off the plane

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The bad guys want their money. They are crashed but are still trying to make the most of things as they have a tracker for all the briefcases that flew off. They call the Rescuers (don’t @ me), and pretend they’re lost hikers in order to lure some experts to them that can help them get to the cash. Which is conveniently on some cliffs. WHO ARE THE EXPERTS BUT, OF COURSE, SLY AND YONDU, FORCED TO WORK TOGETHER AGAIN. 

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I guess he’s still mad.

Meanwhile the FBI is busy not solving the case of the missing money and rudely blocking one of those airport treadmill walkways.

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Rocky and Yondu find Lithgow and crew and discover they are baddies. The Lithgow gang force the duo to escort them to the briefcase using the tracker and their knowledge of the mountains. They discover it’s on a cliff and force Demolition Man to climb without a jacket (as insurance he’ll come back or freeze). And for some reason instead of allowing him to be belayed by his partner, he has to free solo again. But they tie the rope to his ankle? So confusing. Sylvester is also in some big ass boots for climbing. 

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But them taking his jacket gives us some much-needed thirst shots of some biceps. Look at those guns, folks.

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Look at ‘em. 

OK, maybe this movie is a little more tedious than I remember. Sylvester destroys the money and is on his own. He meets up with his ex who gets him in a long sleeve shirt for he doesn’t freeze. It still seems like he’d freeze in this shirt, but I guess this is like when in Breath of the Wild I put Link in his warm doublet, and he can suddenly climb to the highest peaks.

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Now you’re warm and toasty.

The movie gets even more tedious. I guess this is why we always left after the beginning. The baddies seem to not actually want to win as they keep shooting cannon-like guns up at snowy peaks and causing avalanches. Or putting bombs in places and causing avalanches. WHAT IS YOUR PLAN, LITHGOW?

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“Kill a few people you’re a murderer, kill a few thousand and you’re a conquerer.” -Lithgow …um, ok, dude.

One of the baddies keeps giving everyone else bedroom eyes. Even when he’s being mean, his eyes are like… “But, maybe…?” I tried to capture this on film and never did it justice. Also, but unrelated, Sylvester Stallone is used as a sled at one point.

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I really didn’t remember any of this movie, I guess.

And those guys I told you not to get attached to? One of them gets shot by Bedroom Eyes.

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Do you see what I mean, though?

A scene that could have easily been cut happens where Sylvester’s lady, who is a Rescue Ranger and just a general outdoorsy person until this point starts tripping at the sight of some bats. Bitch, what?

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I could turn this into a Jezebel article but I won’t.

Once again there’s a scene where Sylvester could have easily been safely belayed but decided to just go for it. Alex Honnold is a PUNK. 

Bedroom Eyes tries to kill Sylvester with his saucy glare, but Balboa quickly shoves him up on stalactites, and let me tell you his girlfriend was HERE FOR IT. He will get lucky tonight that’s all I’m saying.  

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I found out he’s in Cool Runnings! Now, that’s a good movie.

Also, Mr. Smiley dies. Yondu is very sad. 

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Ok, but here’s the real important part of the movie. All great writing comes full circle, you know? Well, Rambo’s girl HAS FALLEN. HE GRABS HER, BUT CAN HE PULL HER UP? WILL HE REPEAT HIS TRAUMA FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE MOVIE?

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He saves her. So, I guess he was just like, whatever, about the first girl, huh?

More action happens. This is an action movie. Bridges explode and everything. John Lithgow gets progressively more terrible but I’m not quite sure if it’s him or the writing or the wine. A bunny gets shot at, but it lives. The most relief I felt in this movie.

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Confirmed. I really, really didn’t remember this movie.

Finally, we have the last battle scene between Sly and Lithgow. Lithgow careens to his death in a helicopter. I guess I skimmed over when he got the helicopter. Whatever, you get it. They live happily ever after we assume.

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Thanks for coming six hours late, FBI.

In conclusion, my rating is thus:



And I lied about the rewards at the end of this post. The end. 

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Yay! More trauma to process!

20 Replies to “Why I Got into Climbing and Why All Those Reasons are the Movie Cliffhanger”

  1. The girl Stallone failed to save was wearing a Black Diamond harness. Its buckle failed, twisting as if it were made of butter. Come on! Black Diamond! The movie lost me right there. I turned it off. Some years later, I stumbled across the roped ankle sequence. I turned it off again. Your synopsis has saved me from ever being tempted to watch more than I already have.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. That’s so hilarious!😂😂 Yes, I watched it eons ago – and don’t remember a thing past the opening. This review has to top anything the movie could dish up. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This. Is. The. BEST.
    Wow, I totally didn’t remember this movie at all either. Except one scene where Sly one-arms himself up the overhang, and that was my motivation to get to the gym and work on some upper body strength…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s been years since I’ve seen this movie; I forgot it even existed. This may have been the best movie review I’ve read online. Thanks for that!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I used to climb cliffs the more dangerous the better I never had ropes or any equipment! My friends and I had no fear of dying at the time, matter of fact we welcomed it! I loved the adrenalin rush it gave, but to be honest, I wouldn’t do that now I’m too old and have a greater value for life now.!

    Liked by 1 person

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