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Blu-ray Review Man on a Ledge Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Kevin EK

Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 9, 2003
Messages
3,102

Man on a Ledge plummets onto Blu-ray this week with an edition that presents the picture and sound as well as possible, along with a minimum of special features.  The movie itself is hard to swallow, containing more leaps of logic than it can reasonably hold.  The plot, concerning Sam Worthington as an escaped convict standing outside the 21st floor of the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, crumbles the moment you think about it for thirty seconds.  Of the cast, Elizabeth Banks does the best in trying to make sense out of the material – but it’s difficult to believe even her character in this situation.  Fans of the headlining cast may not see the best work of their actors here.  Probably the one plus here is the effective use of New York City as a filming location.  And the ledge certainly provides a nice view.



MAN ON A LEDGE

Studio: Summit Entertainment/di Bonaventure Pictures

Year: 2012

Length: 1 hr 42 mins

Genre:  Action Thriller/Heist


Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, AVC (@ an average 30 mbps)

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 3.5 mbps up to 4.3 mbps), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Film Rating: PG-13 (Violence, Brief Strong Language)


Release Date: May 29, 2012



Starring:  Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Edward Burns, Titus Welliver, Genesis Rodriguez, Kyra Sedgwick and Ed Harris


Written by:  Pablo F. Fenjves

Directed by: Asger Leth


Film Rating: 1 ½/5


Man on a Ledge is clearly intended to be a fun, high-concept movie that keeps the audience on the edge of its seat.  The premise has convicted ex-cop Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) escaping from jail and putting himself out the window of a suite on the 21st floor of the Roosevelt Hotel to draw attention to himself.  And while he’s there occupying the time of the NYPD and a negotiator (Elizabeth Banks), he’s secretly organizing a completely different activity going on in the jewelry vault of the building next door.  There’s potential in the premise, and the movie certainly has the right supporting cast for the material – from Ed Burns as an NYPD detective to Titus Welliver as the team commander to Ed Harris as the smarmy jewelry magnate to William Sadler in a supporting role.  And there’s a great use of real NYC locations here.  So what’s the problem?  Basically, it doesn’t work.  The plot is completely unbelievable and the cast isn’t able to find a way to make it work.  Director Asger Leth does manage to get some inventive shots of Cassidy out on the ledge with the whole city below him, but he is never able to get more than surface performances from his cast or find anything but the most obvious choice of angles and edits.  As to one simple mistake, he never notices that Sam Worthington is speaking in an Australian accent that makes absolutely no sense for a New York cop with Irish blood.  I’ll go a bit more into detail about this for those who don’t mind spoilers.  For those who’d rather cut to the chase, skip ahead to the video and sound evaluations.


MAJOR SPOILERS HERE:  Man on a Ledge compromises itself in short order by pushing the audience’s suspension of disbelief far beyond the breaking point.  We’re asked to believe that Nick Cassidy, a convict known for violence, can somehow elude multiple police cars in a cemetery and then somehow survive a collision with a train in order to make his escape.  Then we need to believe that he can elude a large-scale manhunt for him while he runs away on foot.  Then we need to believe that he can go to a prestigious hotel in the middle of NYC and check in, in full view of everyone in the lobby when his face is guaranteed to be on television as an escaped convict on the loose.   And that’s all for starters.  We won’t even get into the ridiculous idea that they need half the movie to figure out who Cassidy is when his picture will have been on television twice within the same news cycle – once for escaping and the second time for improper use of the hotel window.


MORE SPOILERS:    Any astute viewer will immediately notice William Sadler in what looks like a throwaway role as the hotel valet – which is a strong indication that more is going on.  (And while we’re on the subject of William Sadler, we can try to figure out how William Sadler is supposed to be the father of Sam Worthington and Jamie Bell, when everybody is sporting different accents… And before we leave that train of thought, how is it that Sadler’s character is able to fake his own death to the point that a funeral is held and the police bring Cassidy from prison to attend – when we’re also shown that Sadler is the bartender at the local police bar and is somehow moonlighting at the hotel.  And if Sadler is a bartender all the cops know, then how come nobody recognizes him when they’re questioning him about the mystery ledge sitter?)  If you’ve been able to get through all that, you can then think about the following:  How is it that Nick Cassidy knows the ins and outs of the jewelry vault in such detail that he can tell his brother how to evade all the systems?  How is it that Cassidy was making plans and schematics for building bombs and the like from inside a prison cell where such things would be caught and figured out long beforehand?  And where did Cassidy or his little brother come up with the money to get all of these high tech supplies and gear?  And why is the little brother’s girlfriend in on the heist?  (Of course, she’s integral to the scenario, but the way it’s played, they act as though she has a choice to leave early on.)  On another story track, how is it that Cassidy has been languishing in prison for years when there was an IA investigation that could have easily cleared him or at least gotten him out long ago?  And how is it that nobody notices that Titus Welliver’s character is obviously dirty?  Is it the really strange hair situation on him?  Finally, not to mention the outright jewel theft the movie celebrates at the close with the engagement ring, how are we supposed to believe that Elizabeth Banks’ character is the hung-over mess she’s supposed to be?  For a person who’s been drinking herself into oblivion for some time after a tragedy at work, Banks looks quite well-maintained.  Maybe the character was regularly working out between the drinking binges…


SPOILERS NOW DONE:  Now, the list of bizarre problems with the movie I have just provided may feel a little over the top, but I have to admit that after the movie hits critical mass with this stuff, it’s hard to react in any other way.  I don’t mind outlandish moments in thrillers and heist movies.  The Mission Impossible TV show and movies were built on them.  But there has to be some way in for the audience – some way to believe that SOME of this is possible.  When the issues pile up this high, the viewer is left gasping at the sheer ridiculousness of the affair.  I won’t say that this movie made me want to go up to the 21st floor of the Roosevelt Hotel and go out the window, but I will admit being tempted.


Man on a Ledge will be released on Blu-ray tomorrow.  The Blu-ray contains high definition picture and audio of the movie, along with a short making-of featurette and a trailer that has been given a memorably strange commentary by Elizabeth Banks.


VIDEO QUALITY  4/5


Man on a Ledge is presented in a 1080p AVC 2.40:1 picture transfer that certainly looks good.  Flesh tones are accurate and the many sequences of dark hallways and crawlspaces during the heist show solid black levels.  On a technical level, this is a good-looking Blu-ray.



AUDIO QUALITY  4/5


Man on a Ledge is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that varies from quieter dialogue moments to the big action beats, where it has some real punch.  The subwoofer and surrounds are used as you would expect for this kind of a movie, to punctuate the big hits or explosions, and to generally provide an immersive environment.  A Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is also included on the disc.


SPECIAL FEATURES   1 ½/5


The Blu-ray presentation of Man on a Ledge comes with a short making-of featurette and the movie’s trailer, which itself is marred by an inexplicable commentary choice.



The Ledge (15:17, 1080p) – This featurette shows a bit of material about how the movie was filmed on location in New York, and on a greenscreen stage for many close-ups.  The location footage is interesting, in that it shows how the actual suite on the upper floor was actually expanded for the close shots, with a space for a full crane arm to get the big shots of Worthington on the real ledge.   The usual mutual compliments are exchanged between the cast and director, along with the usual clips from the movie at hand.


Trailer, with Commentary by Elizabeth Banks (2:32, 1080p) –  The movie’s trailer is shown here, but in one of the more bizarre decisions I’ve seen in a while, it is only available with a commentary by Elizabeth Banks.  After a quick introduction, the trailer starts to play, and Banks gives her impressions of what she’s seeing – noting how attractive Sam Worthington and Ed Harris are, and making other comments about the cast and the location.  There is no option to turn this commentary off.   Now, I don’t want to sound ungrateful about this, but to quote a famous movie villain, “WHY?”  There’s no commentary on the movie itself, and you’d think that would be an appropriate place for a commentary.  Why put commentary on the trailer? 


The movie and special features are subtitled in English and Spanish. The usual chapter and pop-up menus are present.  When the disc is first put in the machine, a preview plays for Gone, the Amanda Seyfried movie coming out on Blu-ray on the same day. 


IN THE END...


Man on a Ledge is the kind of movie that could be referred to as a “head slapper”.  There’s an interesting idea at its core – of a man pushed to going out on the ledge of a New York Hotel to both get attention and divert it at the same time.  But that’s not enough to get the viewer past a virtual barrage of illogic and unfortunate mistakes on the creative end.  The Blu-ray release sports solid picture and sound and a featurette with a few good looks at how the movie was made.  But solid picture and sound is not enough to recommend the disc when I cannot recommend the movie itself.


Kevin Koster

May 28, 2012.


Equipment now in use in this Home Theater:


Panasonic 65” VT30 Plasma 3D HDTV – set at “THX” picture mode

Denon AVR-3311Cl Receiver

Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray Player

PS3 Player (used for calculation of bitrates for picture and sound)

5 Mirage Speakers (Front Left/Center/Right, Surround Back Left/Right)

2 Sony Speakers (Surround Left/Right – middle of room)

Martin Logan Dynamo 700 Subwoofer

 

Ted Van Duyn

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 3, 2003
Messages
203
And when I saw the face of Sam Worthington, I shrugged. It was not his presence that brought the shrug, nor his association with Avatar, a movie I thought was just ok. It was in watching Avatar where I realized that I didn't feel investing in his character at all. And for some reason, that's applied to every role he's been in since. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I just don't want to put up with him.
 

Ruz-El

Fake Shemp
Senior HTF Member
Joined
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Messages
12,405
Location
Deadmonton
Real Name
Russell
Originally Posted by Ted Van Duyn /t/321036/man-on-a-ledge-blu-ray-review#post_3930924
And when I saw the face of Sam Worthington, I shrugged. It was not his presence that brought the shrug, nor his association with Avatar, a movie I thought was just ok. It was in watching Avatar where I realized that I didn't feel investing in his character at all. And for some reason, that's applied to every role he's been in since. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I just don't want to put up with him.
I think the problem is he has no real screen charisma. Like Shia Laboef (I do not care if his name is spelled wrong) and countless actors/actresses before him, he's been chosen by Hollywood as a leading man and has been given the push. I mean, has anyone ever said "You know, that Clash Of The Titans remake was really good, I'd enjoy a sequel." No, no they haven't, but a sequel was made and it still stars boring old Sam Worthington. Maybe in ten years he'll pull a Colin Farrel and end up being amazingly good in movies. You watch Farrel in "In Bruges" and it's hard to see that it's the same guy that plodded through "Alexander" and "Miami Vice".

In Worhtington's defense though, his accent went from kind of American to full on Australian depending on the scene. I don't know what the word "defense" means.
 

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