Tis the season of January releases, a time when a crop of some of the most forgettable major motion pictures of the year tend to make their release. It’s not fair to say they’re all bad, but coming off a month like December, which is crammed with Oscar contenders, it’s hard to settle back into “average” movies. My first movie of 2012 is Man on a Ledge, a thriller about an innocent convict who climbs onto a ledge and threatens to jump off of a Manhattan high-rise building. Sounds like it could be either entertaining or dull. Fortunately, I found the movie to be rather entertaining, despite it being a bit too corny to be taken seriously.
Sam Worthington stars as Nick Cassidy, a former cop who has been convicted of stealing the Monarch Diamond from David Englander (Ed Harris). After spending two years in jail, Nick escapes, checks into a hotel in Manhattan, opens the window of his hotel room, and climbs onto the ledge, causing a huge commotion. Everyone thinks that Nick is suicidal, but really his plan is divert the attention of the cops, media and crowd from what’s happening across the street: a diamond heist being executed by his brother (Jamie Bell) and brother’s girlfriend (Genesis Rodriguez). This whole plan is to prove Nick’s innocence. All the while, Nick requests a cop named, Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks), to help “negotiate” him off the roof.
From the trailer, this movie looked like it had the potential to entertain and possibly be very clever. While it did entertain, I can’t say the plot is especially clever. The twists were sort of predictable and underwhelming. The ending borders on anticlimactic; it had a really good buildup and then… oh, that’s it? On top of that, this movie doesn’t even try to be realistic. It packs every NYC cop cliché you can think of in it. Although, the film’s take on the media and its coverage was funny, and I hand all that credit to Kyra Sedgwick who parodied the typical local news reporter hilariously. Other funny moments were during the diamond heist, where Bell and Rodriguez played obvious amateurs. That sort of took a different direction with the heist because it wasn’t as serious or skilled as the heists we’ve seen in previous films. And really, all those funny moments did help this movie a lot. It made it fun and enjoyable, and helped me forget about some of the film’s discrepancies.
Another point against the movie was the acting. Besides the fact that Sam Worthington couldn’t choose an accent, he didn’t act desperate enough to be taken seriously. In fact, the parts with him on the ledge were a little boring. Elizabeth Banks livened up some of those scenes when talking to him, but in the end, it was a weak performance from Worthington. Jamie Bell and Genesis Rodriguez did well comically, but anything else they did fell a little flat. Anthony Mackie’s character was a bit confusing. Is he good? Is he bad? I was still not completely sure by the end. And I won’t even start on Ed Harris as the villain.
Man on a Ledge is the quintessential January major motion picture release. Meaning: it’s entertaining but you’re better off waiting to rent it.
Man on a Ledge hits theaters January 27th.