Picks and Pans Review: K2
This is a movie about men who wear fluorescent-colored Lycra tights and vacation together. Don't jump to conclusions, though. These guys are straighter-than-straight macho mountain climbers, intent on scrambling up the big ones—not just because they're there, but because, as one character tells his wife, when he's at the very tippy-top of a peak, "I feel the truth of my life. I have to have that." Who says men can't talk about their feelings?
K2, a Broadway play translated into an anemic adventure film, has less on its mind than it thinks it has. The plot follows two yuppies, the first a hard-driving, skirl-chasing lawyer played by Biehn (The Abyss), the second a happily married research scientist played by Craven (Jacob's Ladder), as they attempt to ascend all 29,064 feet of K-2, a snow-covered rock pile in Kashmir that is second in height only to Everest. Climbing is a mere pretext, of course, for allowing this odd couple—one swings, the other doesn't—to discover great truths about friendship, love, manliness, courage and, uh-huh, the human spirit.
The drama is flat, but K2's climbing sequences, shot on location in Pakistan and on several mountains in British Columbia, are soaring, offering a cram course in the thrills of the sport. Biehn and Craven appear to know what they're doing with their crampons and pitons; they hold their own despite having to act, in mountaintop scenes, with icicles dangling from their beards. Franc (The Bride) Roddam directed. May he scale greater heights next time, artistically if not topographically. (R)