Sly Stallone’s high-altitude action thriller Cliffhanger has made the climb onto 4K Ultra HD. But, how does it fare? Should you hold onto it with all you’ve got, or just let it drop?
The story: Gabe Walker (Stallone) is a mountain emergency guy who falls to pieces after a failed rescue and quits his job. But, as fate would have it he’s called back to scaling those mountains when he’s needed for a rescue – which turns out to be a battle of wits against nefarious money heist types looking for their ill-gotten gains. They’re led by one Eric Qualen, who’s brilliantly hammed-up by John Lithgow in full British evil dude accent mode.
This was actually our first time ever seeing Cliffhanger, and it was a much more enjoyable romp than we’d been led to believe. So, despite our hand-picked quote just below, strap yourselves in – not forgetting to check your clasps – for Die Hard in the mountains!
“Don’t bother to buckle up – you may not want to survive this.”
The 4K disc: Sometimes giving a movie the 4K treatment can introduce amounts of detail that filmmakers likely never expected would be a thing, and Cliffhanger is one example. The superb native 4K image packs a lot of detail, so much so that it highlights some of the painted backdrops and stage sets that are mixed amongst the location shooting. We found it all part of the fun of this wild action adventure though. The image is Dolby Vision enhanced, and this works subtly but well, bringing appropriate oomph to seas of white snow, and lending a realism to brighter colours thats really pleasing. Grain is present, but so fine as to only be noticeable in a handful of scenes, and even then you’d have to be looking past the action to see it.
Audio-wise, things are a little less satisfying. While the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is in no way a dud – several explosive scenes really let loose the bass, and surrounds are regularly chipping in with atmospherics and score – we’re unsure as to why we didn’t receive the new Dolby Atmos mix that was included with Cliffhanger for its US 4K release. While we understand that it isn’t always an option economically to create one, when there’s already one in existence and it isn’t used we have to scratch our heads. First world problems, sure, but still.
Those who dig commentary tracks will be pleased to know that two are included on the 4K disc. One is with Sly and director Renny Harlin, while the other features the movie’s technical crew. Want more? Just pop in the included standard Blu-ray for a Renny Harlin intro, deleted scenes, featurettes, storyboards and more.
Release date: May 8, 2019
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Janine Turner
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.