Don’t jump Sam! You still have to do two more ‘Avatar’ movies!
Sam Worthington plays a fugitive on the run for a crime he didn’t commit. While on the ledge of a building, hostage negotiator Elizabeth Banks tries to piece together his story and talk him out of taking the plunge.
Since there was already one “dude on a ledge” flick last year (and from what I hear, it blew) I was somewhat looking forward to this even as cheesy as it may have seemed. Still, with my second screening here, things seem to be getting better but not by too much.
Director Asger Leth doesn’t really do much else that we haven’t seen done before but it’s still pretty fun none the less. The whole idea of a guy on a ledge is pretty freaky itself and as much as the film may cut back-and-forth between that and everything else that’s going on around it, the film still never loses that tension it started with when it first came on. I also need to mention that Leth still adds some pretty good action scenes that may look a little cheesy, they are still at least a lot more entertaining and realistic than those crappy aerial-fights in ‘Red Tails’.
In the beginning, it is also made abundantly clear that the protagonist, Nick, is innocent and the whole film we are left to actually find out just who framed him, why, and what’s going to become of him. The answers we get are pretty obvious once they’re revealed but it’s still fun to guess who and why. It’s a good mystery that works here but then when it comes to the actual writing, the film starts to lose it’s ground.
The problem with this film is that the writing really doesn’t do this really simple but cool plot justice. The film is about this dude on a ledge but it’s also about this evil greed bastard and the heist that these two people are doing on him through his jewelery shop. It’s not like the film couldn’t really handle all three of these stories going on it’s just that every single one plays out with either something we’ve seen before or a totally preposterous and unbelievable way. The heist and the guy on the ledge are actually working together so a lot of the things they do to help each other seem non-realistic especially when they focus on this heist that’s going on which has them prepared so much that they practically know the codes to just about every door and safe, but what I really wanted to kn0w was how did they know all of this info going in? There is also plenty of other things that happen to Nick by the end that played out as if it was just a fantasy-tale ending but the film was going to please crowds so I can’t really diss on it too much.
Speaking of that heist though, one of the film’s biggest problems was that whole element. The heist not only seems very unbelievable but it’s also done written poorly with a whole bunch of witty banter between Jamie Bell and Genesis Rodriguez that not only seemed forced beyond belief, but got terribly annoying by the 4th sex joke they made. These scenes feel totally out-of-place with the rest of the film and also make it seem like a desperate attempt at lightening-up the whole subject about this dude possibly killing himself. Bell and Rodriguez try in these scenes but they just come off as annoying and not very believable as two people who are pulling off a heist that could mean life or death here. Instead, they are too busy making jokes about how they both know how sexy and smart the other one is. Also, Rodriguez was only in this film for one and one reason only, she’s smoking hot and we get to see that in a totally unnecessary scene where we see her in her Victoria Secret lingerie.
As for the rest of the cast, they all do fine here but nobody is really out of comfort zone either. Sam Worthington is alright as Nick but he sort of just plays the same guy he always play in just about every flick; Elizabeth Banks is trying way too hard here to be rugged and strained as the cop who tries to talk him out of his apparent suicide; Anthony Mackie is just sort of here, but still pretty good as Nick’s good bud, Mike; and Ed Harris plays the villain, David Englander, and can nail this performance no matter what and does a pretty fine job here but I’m just wondering why the hell he took this film in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, everybody here does their best but there’s nothing all that special about their performances once you get right down to it. Still, nice to see Edward Burns working again though.
Consensus: Man on a Ledge has a nice premise that is fun, entertaining, and keeps you on the edge, but it also features writing that is not only unbelievable but also sub-par performances from this good cast which does nothing but make you disappointed thinking you could have gotten something so much better. It’s nothing phenomenal but you’ll have fun while it’s on and forget about it by next week.
BTW for anybody wondering, my top ten 2011 list will probably be up by the end of this month/early next month so stay tuned peeps!