This is one of the first ever scenes in a movie where I remember thinking “what the fuck is happening here?” When Frank (played by the marvellous Ralph Waite) looks upon Stalone dropping Michael Rooker’s girlfriend from a zip-wire and down to her certain death you’d think director Renny Harlin would be barking out orders to emote fear, shock, awe, and horror. Instead old Frank is grinning away as if he’s hallucinating about winning the puppy lottery. How the shit-bags did this scene make it past Harlin, the editor, the studio execs, and the test screenings? It’s like Martin Van Buren, it’s there, it’s real, but no one really remembers it (Van Buren was the eighth president of the United States – remember him? Exactly.). Frank literally stands there while Rooker’s heart breaks into a million pieces, clutching the zip-wire, and smiling hysterically as if he were staring at a circus bear juggling shaved rabbits rather than witnessing the end of some poor girl’s life. Inexplicable, totally random, and beautifully preserved forever.
Do You Remember When Frank Smiled like a Maniac During The Fall Sequence in Cliffhanger (1993)?