He is Man on a Ledge. He is also Man Who Runs Through A Kitchen, Man Who Throws Grapefruit, and Man Who Is So Clearly Innocent There Is No Need For Us To Worry About Thinking Too Hard.
I was starting to get worried for a second. Here in Chicago, our winter came late. We didn't get a big snowstorm until the middle of January. And all of the January fare at the movie house has been surprisingly.....decent. Mark Wahlberg was actually quite entertaining in "Contraband." And Steven Soderbergh gave us nice wide shots of action sequences so we could see what was going on in "Haywire."
No need to worry. Movie January has finally arrived.
"Man on a Ledge" is one of those movies that could sit on a studio ledge for quite some time, waiting for the right moment to be pushed off and sent to its forgetful death. The sad thing is, there is perhaps an interesting concept here. Instead, we get a couple of completely uninteresting plotlines, but hey, there's a guy on a ledge. It's a cheap way to keep the audience from looking away, or if they're smart, vacating the theater and walking into "The Grey."
Sam Worthington is Man on a Ledge, an ex-cop named Nick. Currently standing on a ledge, we find out that one month ago, Nick was getting his ass kicked in the prison yard at Sing Sing. Because that's just what happens at Sing Sing. He's doing a 25 year sentence for something that must have been bad. His old partner, played by Anthony Mackie, comes to tell him that his father is dying. He'll be able to have a day out to lay him to rest.
The priest at his father's funeral really seems like he doesn't want to be there. He says "Thank You" after giving the final words, as if he's looking for a round of applause. Within seconds, Nick has overpowered the prison escorts and is on the run.
One month later, Nick is well dressed, eating a lobster dinner for breakfast in a fancy New York City hotel room, and taking a step out onto the 20 story ledge.
You would figure a man who had escaped from prison at his father's funeral, WHO USED TO BE A POLICE OFFICER, would be extremely well-known and close to the top of any most-wanted chart. Yet it takes a finger print to get any of the officers at the scene of the ledge to figure out who this guy is. And how does he manage to check into the exact hotel room he needs in the busiest city in the world? And where does an incarcerated cop get the money required to pull off some of these stunts on the ledge? And boy, did he luck out pulling off this plan on the least windy day in the history of a downtown urban area.
What follows is the rest of the story - why Man is on Ledge, what Man on Ledge is trying to accomplish by being on a ledge, and how many in-the-wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time hotel employees holding trays he'll knock over to get there. This elaborate plan involves a precious jewel owned by David Englander, an evil real estate mogul played by Ed Harris. He's introduced in a scene that is an internet meme waiting to be, ripped right out of "UHF"....
We could spend 1,000 words breaking down how nonsensical this plot is, how characters would NEVER, EVER make some of the required decisions for Nick's plan to be carried out. By the way, if this guy is indeed smart enough to pull something like this off, there is NO WAY he ever ends up in prison in the first place. And is it possible to have a heist movie without a person crawling through an air shaft? And why are these shafts always dust free? Also, where can I buy a medium sized duffle bag that can fit a small trailer's worth of heist equipment? I'm guessing a high-end magic store?
Before we conclude, I feel it is my duty to acknowledge that once again Hollywood has demonstrated its complete disdain for the news media through LIVE ON THE SCENE REPORTER SUZIE MORALES! As somebody who works that job by day, I could tell you how irritating it is to watch movies where TV camera crews go live without any long cables winding back to their trucks. Or how a station news chopper goes down to the 20th floor of a New York City building without the FCC immediately revoking their license and putting them off the air for good. Or how reporters completely ignore police tape and go live from whereever they choose. Or when a clearly insane man is spewing nonsense in a crowd, news reporters rush over to put him live on the air.
Say what you want about fights between police and the media - it's idiot movies like "Man on a Ledge" that will bring us together.
"Man On A Ledge" gets a Leshock Value of $3 out of a possible $10.