Terminal Velocity (film)

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Terminal Velocity
Film poster
Directed by Deran Sarafian
Produced by David Twohy
Ted Field
Robert W. Cort
Written by David Twohy
Music by Joel McNeely
Cinematography Oliver Wood
Edited by Frank J. Urioste
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • September 23, 1994 (1994-09-23)
Running time
102 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $50 million
Box office $16,478,900 (USA)[1]

Terminal Velocity is a 1994 American action film starring Charlie Sheen as a daredevil skydiver and Nastassja Kinski as a tough KGB spy who team up to stop renegade spies who are trying to steal gold. It was written by David Twohy and directed by Deran Sarafian. The film co-stars James Gandolfini and Christopher McDonald.


A Boeing 747 lands in the middle of a desert. A young Russian woman is tortured by getting dunked in the aquarium of her apartment until she drowns and is left by her two assailants in the shower stall. Skydiving instructor Richard 'Ditch' Brodie (Charlie Sheen) takes on a new client, Chris Morrow (Nastassja Kinski), who on her first jump does not open her parachute and apparently dies. Brodie discovers that Morrow faked her death and that she is really a Russian spy trying to recover a shipment of gold. Brodie uses all of his skydiving skills to outwit the villains and to stay alive.



The final stunt, which features Sheen at the wheel of a Cadillac Allanté falling to earth, was a mixture of bluescreen and camera work, as a real car was suspended beneath a helicopter and then a reverse zoom made it seem as if it were in free-fall.

Portions of the film were shot in Palm Springs, California.[2] Other filming locations were Alabama Hills (Lone Pine, California); a windfarm near Tehachapi, California; Douglas, Arizona; Flagstaff, Arizona; Little Colorado River Canyon, Arizona; Moscow, Russia; Phoenix, Arizona; San Bernardino, California and Tucson, Arizona, where a cameo appearance by Martha Vasquez of its station KVOA was filmed.[3][4]


The movie debuted at No. 2 at the box office behind Timecop.[5] It eventually earned about $16.5 million in ticket sales, making it a box office flop compared to its $50 million budget.[6]

It received mostly negative reviews by critics; it has a 17% positive scale on the ratings aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 23 reviews.[7] Owen Gleiberman opined that "Terminal Velocity is the kind of movie in which the hero keeps sneaking into rooms to peek into some file and you wait, with glum certitude, for yet another ”surprise” thug to leap out of the shadows. It’s fun to hear Charlie Sheen deliver quips like, 'I’m not just a walking penis — I’m a flying penis!' But for most of the movie, Sheen, lowering his voice to a basso he-man growl, gives a boringly flat, square-jawed performance, as if he thought he were doing Hot Shots! Part Quatre."[8] Roger Ebert suggested that "Sheen's behavior in this and other scenes is so close to the self-parody of his work in the 'Hot Shots!' movies that he almost seems to be telling us something — such as, that he takes the movie with less than perfect seriousness. No wonder. It's based on such a goofy premise that with just a nudge here and a pun there it could easily have become "Hot Shots Part Cinq" and taken advantage of the franchise. It's not so much that Sheen can keep a straight face in any situation, as that he always seems to be testing himself with the situations he gets himself into."[9]


  1. ^ Terminal Velocity at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Niemann, Greg (2006). Palm Springs Legends: creation of a desert oasis. San Diego: Sunbelt Publications. pp. 168–171. ISBN 978-0-932653-74-1. OCLC 61211290.  (here for Table of Contents)
  3. ^ "Eyewitness News Team". KVOA.com. 1997. Archived from the original on February 21, 1997. Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Filming Locations for Terminal Velocity". IMDb.com. Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  5. ^ Strauss, Bob (October 3, 1994). "`Timecop' Puts Brakes On `Velocity'". Sun Sentinel. Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 2010-11-02. 
  6. ^ "Terminal Velocity". BoxOfficeMojo.com. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Terminal Velocity (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  8. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (October 7, 1994). "Terminal Velocity". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 2, 2010. 
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (September 23, 1994). "Terminal Velocity". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2010-11-02. 

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