There is no messing with that title. Within five minutes ex-cop Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is on that ledge and inside fifteen minutes a character has uttered those immortal “awkwardly working in the movie title” words and we have – A MAN ON A LEDGE! Good fun but hardly going to challenge, say, Steve McQueen in the cerebral cinema stylings. But then again, that’s not the point.
Other Russell Crow – sorry Sam Worthington – plays said ex-cop Nick Cassidy, a man who happens to be off the beat due to reasons of incarceration. Cue Negotiator Lydia Mercer (an impossibly un-cop-like Elizabeth Banks) and her attempts to talk our Nick down from the top-floor ledge of a Manhattan hotel. Cassidy’s prison-break and tightrope act are, however, just a very large red herring. Not giving anything away – its already spoiled somewhat on the poster – the real action is happening across the street in the vault of rich financier / mogul / whatever evil banker metaphor you’re having yourself Ed Harris’ private vault.
Jamie Bell (rather decent) plays Nick’s brother Joey, Génesis Rodríguez his girlfriend Angie. Between them they do a dab-hand Tom Cruise circa Mission Impossible I impression – all roof-dangling, bodysuits, Velcro-straps and whatever you do don’t trip those sensors action. All to nab the treasure within. But why the deception and where is this all going?
First time director Asger Leth offers a steady directorial hand but a straight, thriller by the numbers approach. We cycle through the standards – cop with attitude, cop with troubled recent history but looking for redemption – it even quite blatantly reminds of you of other films – Joel Schumacher’s Phone Booth cannot help spring to mind. Sam Worthington gives a relatively restrained performance, but given his limited floor space and vertiginous surrounds that’s probably wise. There’s a hammy script from Pablo Fenjves – the ghostwriter of O. J. Simpson’s If I Did It book (mark that one down table-quiz fans) and keep an eye out for Elizabeth Banks drinking from the same coffee cup for the entire movie! Good, glossy B-movie, semi-ludicrous fare.