Reel Critics: 'Man on a Ledge' teeters into 'B' movie zone

Sometimes the title of a movie tells you all you need to know about it."Man on a Ledge"is in that category.

Sam Worthington stars and spends most of his screen time as a mysterious man standing outside the 21st floor of a New York hotel, threatening to jump. Elizabeth Banks is the pretty blond detective who tries to talk him out of his suicide mission.

The story starts as a police procedural familiar to viewers of TV cop shows. But it quickly enters the realm of a far-fetched caper flick. We discover along with the cop that the jumper on the ledge really wants to facilitate the high-tech theft of a multimillion-dollar diamond from a building across the street.

Ed Harris plays the real estate mogul who owns the diamond. For reasons that become obvious, he wants the guy on the ledge to be dead as soon as possible.

Sinister dealings from the past are revealed. There is action and excitement. But in the end, this is a 'B' movie with some entertainment value that would work well as an episode of "Law and Order."


Fighting for survival in 'The Grey'

When the going gets tough, go get Liam Neeson. The strapping 6-feet-4 star once again brings his perennially brooding presence to another entertaining action flick, "The Grey."

In a true white-knuckle sequence, a small plane bearing oil-pipeline workers crashes in the Alaskan wilderness with few survivors. They turn out to be your standard, heavily-bearded crash victims: the angry guy, the sensitive guy, the quiet guy, the sickly guy, and the brawny, cool-in-a-crisis guy (Neeson).

Then there's the wolf pack — not the guys from"The Hangover,"but great growling gray beasts eager for a fresh-off-the-wreck manwich.

According to the filmmakers, there's nothing like imminent death to put one in the throes of an existential crisis. This is where "The Grey" takes a surprising detour as the men not only fight for survival, but also ponder the sum total of their lives.

"The Grey" is a pretty exciting adventure that won't insult your intelligence. And while these manly men may show a bit of sentiment, at least nobody turns into a cannibal or a vampire.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.

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