Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is a Man on a Ledge. He steps out of the window of the Roosevelt Hotel in New York and draws the attention of the public below and the police, notably his ex-partner Mike Ackerman (Anthony Mackie) and the negotiator Lydia Anderson (Elizabeth Banks). While she tries to talk the potential hero down off the ledge, across the road, Cassidy’s brother Joey (Jamie Bell) attempts to break into the vault of billionaire real estate mogul Dave Englander (Ed Harris) .
Man on a Ledge is a high-concept thriller/heist film, working in the same ballpark as The Fugitive and Mission: Impossible although without the strong leads of the former, or the over-the-top action of the latter. From a trailer that promised a lot of high-rise action with a man on a ledge, it is the heist portion that gets most of the fun moments, like Genesis Rodriguez’s skin-tight catsuit air-vent crawl or Jamie Bell cracking wise as they outsmart the security at every touch and turn.
Worthington as the man on a ledge is left there to co-ordinate, growling at everyone in an accent that drifts between American, English and Australian with careless disregard. It is clear that he is never going to jump and sadly this removes all tension from the ledge storyline. Banks is miscast as the sensitive negotiator and seems more at home in comedies than thrillers or serious dramas. There is a nice small supporting role for Edward Burns, but it is Ed Harris who really grabs the audiences attention as the almost impossibly nasty billionaire.
Man on a Ledge has some nice single shots from up high and the early scenes with Worthington stepping out onto the ledge are vertigo-inducing and setup the threat levels nicely. But with a highly predictable plot and some mediocre performances in lead roles, it can be nothing more than a simple popcorn film. It muddles it’s genre too much and removes all tension from early on. Combine that with a lack of stand-out scenes, like The Fugitive‘s dam jump or Mission: Impossible‘s wire-drop and it’s clear that Man on a Ledge will be forgotten in years to come. It’s not bad, but it’s not going to win any awards.