'Man on a Ledge' is one of those movies that relies entirely on convenient coincidences. It has an air of all being planned beforehand, but that's what they want you to think. In reality, the plot could never have worked unless the coincidence fairies were working overtime. Every time the movie's writer, Pablo F. Fenjves, finds himself looking over the proverbial ledge, with seemingly nowhere to go, a magical golden writer's hawk – they're real, I promise - swoops down and lifts his prose into the air, transporting them to the next impossible plot point. Sticky situations are conveniently glossed over so the movie can continue without too much hassle. It's almost fun to count the number of times the script for 'Man on a Ledge' hits a brick wall, only to turn around a second later because of some convenient plot device.
There's one secret in the movie that is so outlandish and if you think about it, completely impossible given the timeframe and situations of the characters, that Fenjves doesn't even bother explaining it; he just hopes you buy it. If you don't buy it, then the entirety of the movie falls apart. Best to leave that plot point unresolved, unexplained, and hopefully unquestioned.
Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is the lead in an action-thriller, we know this because he has a constant five o'clock shadow. Cassidy was once a cop, but he now finds himself wallowing in jail because he was accused and convicted of stealing a $40 million diamond from wealthy businessman David Englander (Ed Harris). Cassidy claims he was set up, but no one believes him.
He's let out of prison, for one day, for his father's funeral. That's where he escapes. After a scuffle, Cassidy is off, Richard Kimball-style, to prove his innocence. Flash forward to the present day, and Cassidy stands perilously close to the edge on a ledge outside of the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. He pretends he's a jumper, but he's got other plans.
Torn right from the plot of 'The Negotiator,' Cassidy requests a certain detective get sent to negotiate his giving up. Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) is the detective Cassidy can trust, and she buys into his story without much apprehension. She feigns it, but goes along with the shenanigans anyway.
What follows is a story so full of coincidental happenings that it becomes maddening how many times Cassidy and his plot to prove his innocence stumbles and then gets right back up again without any real problems at all. I felt like I was watching 'The Italian Job' all over again, only this time the characters were less interesting, the heist was even more unbelievable, and Mos Def wasn't screaming at the top of his lungs while Jason Statham was running down dudes on motorcycles in a Mini Cooper.
As Cassidy pretends he's going to plummet to his death at any moment, his brother (Jamie Bell) and his smoking hot accomplice (Genesis Rodriguez) carry out the secret master plan that would've required all the planning of Danny Ocean and his team. Yet these two knuckleheads, between their jokes about their sex lives, are able to pull off a heist that seems reasonably impossible by any standards. How did they know what they knew about the vault? How did they know the codes, the camera movements, the timers? More unexplained plot stuff, because we assume they have been planning this thing for years. Yeah, right.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is a Summit release and is coded for Region A use. It comes in a standard sized Blu-ray keepcase and is pressed onto a 50GB Blu-ray Disc.
'Man on a Ledge' was released just this year, so you'd expect a pretty spotless transfer from Summit, and that's what you get. The 1080p presentation is much better than the movie you're watching that's for sure.
Fine detail is optimal throughout. That Worthington action hero scruff is presented in all its glory every time he gets a close-up. Colors are strong. Guys may drool at the site of Rodriguez's bright pink bra that peeks out over her black break-in suit. Skin tones are strong and natural. There doesn't seem to have been much post-play with the color palette. It might have been given a slightly icier look, but overall the movie has a very natural, clean look.
The vertigo-inducing shots of the New York streets below are presented in startling clarity. I was impressed by the New York aerial shots at the beginning. Usually those shots are hampered by aliasing, here I only noticed one, maybe two, instances. Other artifacts like banding, source noise, or blocking were non-existent. If you are looking to purchase this movie then you'll be quite happy with the look of it in high definition.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track provided sounds great and just how you'd expect a recent action-thriller to sound. The surrounds are lively with the busy life of New York City streets. As Cassidy stands on the ledge, wind whooshes by him, which can clearly be heard moving through the soundfield seamlessly.
I was impressed with the encompassing aspect of this audio presentation. People begin to gather around on the street below. Their collective gasps, yells, and screams fill the sound stage. Again the rear speakers come alive with the varied sounds of the crowd below.
Dialogue is always clear, even when Cassidy is whispering into a hidden microphone 20 stories in the air. Maybe his whispers are a little too clear given the conditions, but at least you can hear everything going on. At one point a news chopper swoops in and the front and center channels are buffeted by air being pushed out by the helicopter blades. Its whap, whap, whap beats loudly and creates a very real sounding environment. The movie's score, as standard as it may seem, relies heavily on LFE to give it that extra oomph. LFE is a constant force whether it’s the beating soundtrack or an explosion here and there.
This is an excellent sounding audio mix. Near perfection.
If you watch this movie, try to count the number of times freak coincidences work out perfectly so that Cassidy's "plan" can work out. Better yet, make it a drinking game. It's like Deus Ex Machina hits you over the head every other scene. I certainly would have enjoyed the movie more had Elizabeth Banks provided the subtly sarcastic commentary she gave to the movie's trailer. If you're looking for a brainless action movie then I guess you could do worse. At least the movie looks and sounds terrific on Blu-ray. Give it a rent if you really must see it.