A frustratingly not-terrible action thriller.
Faithful readers know I'm not fond of heights. That doesn't mean I object to them in movies. I responded strongly to Tom Cruise clinging to the walls of the world's tallest building in "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol." With a movie like "Man on a Ledge," however, I feel toyed with. The movie cuts back and forth between two preposterous plot lines and uses the man on the ledge as a device to pump up the tension.
Fair enough. I've played along with more than one absurd plot in my life. But how should I react when the man on the ledge doesn't take it seriously? I believe if you are standing on a 21st floor ledge in a fair wind, you take it very seriously, indeed. To be sure, the man is threatening to commit suicide, so if he fell, that would fit into his plan. But since we know he's not serious, what is this goofball thinking?
His name is Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington). He's an ex-cop, serving a prison term. Let outside for a day under armed escort to attend his father's funeral, he escapes from his guards, ditches his prisoner's uniform, makes it into Manhattan, checks into a hotel, tucks into a big breakfast and climbs out on the ledge.
At this point, if we're experienced moviegoers, we have a good idea he isn't going to jump anytime real soon, because then the movie would be over, get it? No, we're going to get a lot of point-of-view shots looking straight down past the toes of his shoes. Man, is he high up. He collects a big crowd, which brings traffic to a halt.