|'There's a definitive point where Worthington's performance changes from Man On A Ledge to Man In An Action Film.'|
If it wasn't for several key errors then Man On A Ledge may have ended up as decent, if fairly brainless, Friday night fodder. As it is, if you're looking for a check list of exactly why Friday night fodder doesn't seem to be very good these days, then this turns out to be a good place to start.
At the top of the bill is Sam Worthington, a screen presence almost as frequent over the last few years as awful Friday night films. Coincidence? Possibly not. Where this sort of role would have once gone to Mel Gibson, perhaps ten years ago, who would have injected actual film star quality and at least a frisson of humour, now we get the monotone English-born Australian. Where sometimes he has come out of average films looking at least OK (Clash Of The Titans), here he is part of the problem. There's a definitive point where Worthington's performance changes from Man On A Ledge to Man In An Action Film. It happens about ten minutes into the film and it undermines his character's supposed suicidal innocence throughout.
Of course, there's another reason why Worthington is standing on a precipice over New York than just to take the air and contemplate his existence. The second half of the film sees a very heavily Mission: Impossible-influenced segment rear its fairly ugly face, spearheaded by Jamie Bell and the stupendously named Genesis Rodriguez. At one point director Asger Leth indulges in a horribly laddish segment, which involves Rodgriguez stripping down to her underwear and the camera taking a great big leer. The flimsy excuse (she couldn't put her catsuit on before getting there?) is borderline insulting. Why not just have them have a steamy bit of sex on the job if you need this in your film, at least that would reflect a bit more honesty about your intentions? The heist itself meanwhile, is in desperate need of a proper sex-up and seems to involve every heist cliché in existence, in the space of just two rooms.
Meanwhile, because we're now in full on action mode, we need men with guns, who pile in needlessly, presumably with the sole intention of showing us something not boring. It doesn't work. The sole bright spots here are Ed Burns and Elizabeth Banks (the latter of course introduced to us in her underwear, natch), who do a good job performing roles that never stretch them. At least they're interesting to look at. The rest is as flat as a man falling twenty stories, after a bored audience has given him a little nudge.
Man On A Ledge is available to stream on LOVEFiLM Instant.