Man on a Ledge (2012) – It just needs a push.
Let’s just go ahead and get this part out of the way. This movie is about a man who is on a ledge. Of course, the real question is who is this man, and why is he out on this ledge? Fortunately, in a surprising move by Summit Entertainment, they actually give you a pretty decent story surrounding Mr. Man on a Ledge played by Sam Worthington. See, he isn’t trying to commit suicide. Nah, the trailers give away that much. He’s there to act as a distraction for a heist that’s going down across the street! That’s right, our only really worthy actor in this production isn’t really even where the majority of the action is.
Not that action is really the right word for what happens in Man on a Ledge. It’s more like Made for Television Action. Everyone involved seems like they’re on loan from the backgrounds of shows like Leverage, White Collar, NCIS, whatever. Other than Worthington, no one even dreams of stepping up and giving a three dimensional performance. To be honest, I was surprised that various characters actually had names. On the script, they were probably listed as Fat Cat Tycoon and Scandalous TV Reporter. My personal favorite one note cliche wonder is Mistake Prone Cop played by Elizabeth Banks.
So with both an actor pool and script pulled right out of TV land, why did I actually enjoy Man on a Ledge when I really should have been wishing the film was called Shirtless Man on a Ledge? Okay, I still was doing that, but I think the biggest reason I had a good time is because the movie is paced so well. Just when you think you might be spending too long up there on that ledge, the scene shifts to what’s going on across the street, or maybe down in the chaos below. There’s a good healthy chunk of the tactical used by both good and bad guys that’s compelling as well. And when the motives of some characters start to become more unclear,the quick pace really suits the story well.
And while you certainly have to suspend your disbelief, though no less so than, say, Mission Impossible 4, having Sam Worthington there to command so much of your attention really helps. So even though he’s so obviously surrounded by flimsy production values all across the board, you can come off the ledge feeling like you actually did get some good entertainment value for your action dollar. Though, would it have killed them to fund at least one real explosion?