Fight: Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone) vs. Eric Qualen (John Lithgow)
The bad news first: a gang of evil white-collar criminals are holding your sister hostage approximately 10,000 feet above sea level. To make matters worse, it tends to be cold on mountaintops, and for no discernible reason you’re only wearing a tank top.
Now for the good news: you’re a trained mountain climber who, as luck would have it, grew up climbing the mountain on which they’re holding her, so you’ve got a Coors Park-sized home field advantage. Oh, also, you’re Sylvester Stallone and the guy you’re fighting is the dad from 3rd Rock From the Sun.
That’s right, when faced with the job of finding a villain fearsome enough to menace Stallone’s maverick climbing instructor, the makers of Cliffhanger settled on John Lithgow, a man whose previous villains spent their time trying to convince kids to stay home from prom.
In an attempt to even the odds, Cliffhanger emphasizes the fact that Stallone is haunted by the memory of watching a woman plunge to her death. He is not, however, haunted by cerebral palsy, the only thing that could make a fight between Lithgow and Stallone anything other than laughable.
When they finally meet in the climactic scuffle, Lithgow manages to get Stallone in a head lock, and improbably appears to have him on the ropes before the helicopter they’re dangling from (don’t ask) falls off the side of a cliff, taking Lithgow with it.