SYNOPSIS: Chris O'Donnell stars as a mountain climber who leads a risky rescue effort up K2, the world's second-highest peak, to save the life of his stranded sister.
TRAILER STYLE: Breathless and lightheaded, like experiencing altitude sickness. Spectacular scenery and eye-popping stunt work are cut together at breakneck speed and set to staccato action-flick music.
WHAT THE STUDIO WANTS YOU TO THINK OF: Jon Krakauer's mesmerizing bestseller, Into Thin Air, without all those pesky words.
WHAT THE STUDIO DOESN'T WANT YOU TO THINK OF: Sylvester Stallone's cartoonish Cliffhanger.
PREFAB CATCHPHRASE: "Avvv-uhhhh-LANCHE!!!!"
BOTTOM LINE: Hollywood melodrama jacked up on pure oxygen. Take away the frenetic pacing and you're left with standard-issue action fare, including stock characters (like an eccentric but sage mountain man) and the obligatory psychodrama ( O'Donnell's father died in a climbing accident years before). Still, the cinematography and the alpine vistas, mostly shot in New Zealand, are arresting. In other words, it may be familiar, but you can't beat the view.