it was 1993, Sly was in top shape, and was rolling out hit after hit. This was perhaps his greatest movie before he slid into obscurity (well that is until Rambo, Rocky V and Expendables revived his career).
Before Tom Cruise showed off his moves pretending to rock climb in Mission Impossible II, Stallone showed the world his abilities, strength and the awesome sights of the Italian Alps in a movie which was successful for action fans, climbers and even Stallone skeptics. The plot isn't that complicated, a bunch of criminals led brilliantly by the wonderfully talented John Lithgow who outshines himself as a master villain, steals the money from a plane but the plane crashes and they need the Rocky Mountains Rescue climbers Rooker and Stallone to find it.
The plot is a new twist on the good guys versus bad, with some mind games, mixed in with good action and the backdrop of the Alps (standing in for the Rockies) certainly helped. Stallone played the roles that suit him best, little acting chops needed, but plenty of action and let the other actors use their thespian skills to cover up for his more wooden acting, then let the director Renny Harlin (fresh from Die Hard 2) show off all the action sequences.
Chick Factor: Janine Turner is the love interest, and does her bit to spice up the movie without looking ditzy 3/5
The film shows its age, the picture quality is a little faded, and many shots are less sharp or pristine. PQ 3/5
AQ: no such trouble for the sound though, the DTS-MA 5.1 track is awesome, and has good bass and LFE during explosions, of which there are plenty, and the deep bass resounds from all 5 speakers. Dialogue is reasonably clear, but the soundscape and the use of surrounds is on par with a movie from the 21st century and makes this quite the sonic treat.
Most of the stunts were real and Stallone did many of the climbing scenes himself. it had the most expensive stunt as well (USD 1 mil) for the wire climb between two planes (no safety ropes so the insurance was sky high) and Stallone is actually afraid of heights.
Should you buy / rent / avoid it?
I reckon the sound effects alone make this a demo worthy buy, and the decent plot, with the excellent performances by lead actors (dare I say it, Stallone was good in this despite a dearth of facial expressions).