Sam Worthington stars as Nick Cassidy, an ex-cop who is sent to prison for supposedly stealing a massive diamond from gem magnate David Englander (Ed Harris). Released to attend his father’s funeral, he promptly escapes and goes on the run only to edge his way out onto the ledge on the 21st floor of a hotel.
After making sure he has the attention of the media and the police and that a specific negotiator (Elizabeth Banks) is on the scene, he threatens to jump. But it’s soon revealed that this is just an elaborate plan to distract attention away from his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and his girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) who are busy breaking into the vault across the street.
Quite what the constant appeal of Sam Worthington is remains a mystery. After being given plenty of high-profile roles following his appearance in Avatar (Terminator 4, Clash Of The Titans, The Debt) and doing nothing particularly interesting, he still gets very high billing. Man On A Ledge thankfully doesn’t require him to do any heavy lifting, so despite a wobbly accent, he’s perfectly fine if expectedly unremarkable.
Fortunately, the rest of the cast have slightly more life to them particularly Elizabeth Banks as the canny negotiator and Ed Harris as a steely-eyed panto villain. Jamie Bell and Genesis Rodriguez are more of a mixed bag – some of their dialogue is appalling and the chemistry is never quite believable and frequently verges on irritating
Director Asger Leth wisely maintains a brisk pace which distracts from the multitude of plot holes and he makes good use of the location – the first time Nick steps out on the ledge really does feel like you’re doing it too – acrophobes beware.
There’s a sort of B-movie quality to Man On A Ledge which excuses many of its excesses but the plot is rife with so many plot holes and poorly reasoned logic that they eventually become impossible to ignore. Why for example does Genesis Rodriguez strip down to her underwear for no reason at all? Why can’t she find any clothes that fit her in the first place? If you cut the wires to the heat sensors in the vault, surely you can’t deliberately set them off with heat packs later?
It also features a poor realised and written last 15 minutes which feels like they couldn’t think of a good way to end the movie – a horribly saccharine, cheery-on-top finale which proves to be the last straw in a long line of mounting implausibility. Still, it makes for adequate throwaway Friday night fodder – just don’t go expecting more than that.