Release Date: March 3rd, 2006 by Warner Brothers Pictures.
The Cast: Bruce Willis, Mos Def, David Morse, Cylk Cozart, Jenna Stern, Casey Sander.
Directed by Richard Donner.
BASIC PREMISE: Jack (Willis), a police detective, has trouble escorting Eddie (Def), a criminal, from jail to a NYC courthouse 16 blocks away.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: For an action thriller, 16 Blocks has everything you would expect from the genre and more. Bruce Willis, sporting a mustache, gives a decent performance as Jack, a burned-out NYC detective who seems to love alcohol more than his job. Within the first five minutes into the film, Jack already receives his latest assignment: to escort a criminal named Eddie 16 blocks away in 118 minutes. Sounds easy, right? Think again. Eddie finds a way to escape from Jack through the streets of New York. Meanwhile, Frank (Morse), Jack’s ex-partner, creates obstacles leads a team of police officers who create many obstacles for Jack. What makes 16 Blocks work as a thriller is that each character is entirely believable and complex. David Morse makes a very convincing performance as a bad guy—you really end up hating him. Surprisingly, the liveliest, most fleshed-out character is Eddie. Mos Def shows his comic side with a nasal voice and talking too much, much like Chris Tucker did in Rush Hour . Even as the action turns into a simple cat-and-mouse chase with guns blazing throughout the second act, 16 Blocks is still a lot of fun because you never know what to expect from Jack and Eddie next—they even become a team. There are even a few interesting plot twists that are not just there for shock value—they make sense, too. The fast-paced editing along with the cinematography creates a slightly dizzying effect but certainly heightens the tension and claustrophobia. From start to finish, director Richard Donner never lets you catch you breath or take your eyes off of the screen for even a second. Rarely has an action thriller been rich with so much atmosphere, complex characters and a compelling plot that never ceases to entertain you.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Believe it or not, 16 Blocks has a message or two up its sleeve. Eddie dreams of owning a birthday cake store. He believes that everyone should have a unique cake design that represents who they are as a person. Interestingly, Jack can’t come up with a design, which means that he has a lot to learn about himself. In a touching scene, he confesses that he’s not a good man and, of course, Eddie says the same thing about himself. By the end of their crazy ordeal together, both characters have learned a lot about one another and now look at life in a whole new way.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief. Otherwise, you’ll find a few plot-holes, especially during the action sequences.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: A pulsating, riveting action thriller with brains! Surprisingly insightful and refreshing! Mos Def proves himself to be a A-list actor!
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