Asger Leth’s “Man on a Ledge” puts Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), a recently escaped prisoner and ex-cop who was supposedly set up for stealing a prized diamond, high above the streets of New York, perched on top of a ledge of an upscale hotel. After a couple of minutes a massive crowd starts to form, and the cops are called in to try and talk him down.
An intriguing setup that’s ultimately wasted. “Man on a Ledge” turns out to be one of those movies that gets less interesting as it goes on. We find out that Nick is up there to prove that he was set up. Across the street his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) are stealing the diamond (as if diamond heists weren’t already overdone in movies).
So you sit there, watching Nick on the ledge, Joey and Angie playing “Oceans Eleven,” (Joey outsmarts the cameras and the heat detectors, while Angie slips into a kinky leather suit to slide through a vent to get to the safe containing the diamond) and the cops bickering with one another. We wait for something interesting to happen, some big plot twist. But nothing comes and soon the movie builds up to a rather lazy ending.
Sam Worthington is still bland as ever and maybe that’s tolerable in a mindless action film like “Clash of the Titans” but in this one he has to stand around and make conversation with cops and be cool about it, and Worthington doesn’t have the range for that. Luckily he’s helped out tremendously by a lively supporting cast, made up of Elizabeth Banks as a recently shamed cop who tries to get Nick to come in, Ed Harris as a maniacal hotel owner who set Nick up, Edward Burns as a wise guy detective, Titus Welliver as a corrupted cop and Anthony Mackie (in another good but brief role) as Nick’s cop friend.
Look, “Man on a Ledge” isn’t a “Worst Movie of the Year” candidate; it has a certain level of kinetic energy that most audiences will respond to. It has a good premise, but Leth and screenwriter Pablo F. Fenjves fail to take it anywhere exciting or interesting.