Director Asger Leth has only previously co-directed one other film in 2006, a documentary named “Ghosts of Cite Soleil,” but nonetheless he made his studio debut with the new action thriller “Man on a Ledge,” released Jan. 27.
The movie is yet another story about corrupt cops who betray one of their own (movies like Training Day, Serpico, The Departed, etc.). Here the accused goes to extreme measures to prove his innocence.
Full of predictable plot twist, the story, based solely on the idea of sleight of hand and miss direction, offers very few suspenseful moments and lacks the presence of a leading man.
The film takes place on the ledge of a hotel building above a crowded street in New York City. Former cop Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) has been accused of stealing a wealthy businessman’s diamond and decides to make his final stand.
While on the ledge, Nick has to perform a high-rise balancing act between guiding his younger brother Joey (Jamie Bell) to the evidence that will prove his innocence and convincing the pretty negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) to trust him. Nick and Lydia form a subtle bond, though the scenes between Worthington and Banks lack chemistry.
The film proves to be as exciting as the title. It has a slow-building plot with crude flashbacks, and the lackluster finale will have you waiting in vain, for the suspense and action never come.
The casts, which consist of familiar faces, are by no means household names. An ensemble of supporting actors deliver an average performance for a predictable plot, which fulfills almost every Hollywood stereotype, from the hot Latina with an attitude to the token black police partner.
Worthington proves that without any special effects he is unable to command a scene or deliver any emotional value to a movie. He has yet to establish himself as a leading man or a box office draw. Banks confirms that she does not have the range or skill set to be a leading lady in serious roles. She should probably stick to comedies.
The cast includes Ed Harris, who portrays the corrupt executive who sets up Cassidy, a villainous role he seems to repeatedly play an inconvincibly at that. Kyra Sedgwick from TNT’s “The Closer” is the pushy reporter. Perfect for her, except her character is Spanish and her accent is horrible.
The movie also stars Anthony Mackie, as Mike Ackerman, Cassidy’s black partner who helps set him up. Genesis Rodriguez makes her film debut as Joey’s hot Latina girlfriend with an attitude and Ed Burns has a pointless and forgettable role as a fellow police officer who helps Mercer through tough times during the negotiation. Typical characters for a Hollywood copper flick.
Without the presence of a leading man or woman this film is definitely not worth the price of admission. Not even worth purchasing On Demand or through Red Box. Watch this movie when it comes on cable, on a rainy afternoon and only if nothing else better is on.