Based-on-real-events survivalism is all the cinematic rage of late. The Himalayas doesn't have Leonardo DiCaprio in a fight to the death with a bear or Jake Gyllenhaal waxing philosophical as a blissed-out mountaineer, but the p.o.v. avalanche it opens with is bracing in its own right. As with The Pirates -- a 2014 swashbuckler that now ranks among the twenty highest-grossing movies of all time in South Korea — director Lee Suk-hoon proves a capable (if uninspired) hand at meeting genre expectations; rest assured that ladders will precariously bridge crevasses, oxygen levels will drop, and grand speeches will be made as our heroes face near-certain death.
The primary ascent involves a rescue party braving Everest in order to recover the body of a fellow climber who perished on a prior expedition. The question of whether such a venture warrants putting several more lives at risk is, of course, a thorny one, its moral weight bearing down on all involved like a snow-filled sky. For all the big-budget spectacle on display, it's the scenes that look to have been shot on a GoPro that most excite -- only in these few sequences does The Himalayas begin to distinguish itself from its blockbuster ilk. If you've summited one mountain movie, you've pretty much summited them all.