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Saturday, June 24, 2006

16 Blocks — Movie Review

16 Blocks was dubbed a thriller on the back of the DVD case. Yet, somewhat strong characters carried this fast-paced, if not necessarily action-packed, film as far as it could go.

A simplistic plot consisted of run-down cop Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis) being assigned to escort a witness to court. Eddie Bunker (Mos Def), the witness and an ex-con, turns out to be on his way to implicate several dirty cops, including Mosley. The short trip to the courthouse is rife with danger, as the dirty cops try to take out Bunker before he testifies against them. Mosley, for once, tries to do the right thing by following through on his assignment to get Bunker to court.

The film opens with a brief foreshadowing of Mosley dictating his will, which pulls you in right away. The action actually gets a bit bogged down as it approaches what is supposed to be the climax. Bunker and Mosley sort of stumble into a standoff with police, presumably not all of whom are corrupt, which seemed like the perfect opportunity for them to stop running. Instead, the corrupt cops paint Mosley as having taken hostages, and the action continues.

There’s some good chemistry between Willis and Def that allows the film to work. Though the quirkiness in Def’s character doesn’t cut it as the intended comic relief, the desire to start a better life manifested in a copy book full of notes for a planned business lets you root for him. The transformation of Willis’ character comes from his gradual belief in Bunker’s ability to start over.

David Morse, an actor I’ve liked in numerous roles, does an ok job in the role of Frank Nugent. Mosley’s old partner and the head of the effort to kill Bunker, the character seemed like a missed opportunity to add depth to the plot.

While 16 Blocks is just entertaining, it won’t make you wish you’d spent your money elsewhere.

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