Saturday, September 6, 2014

16 BLOCKS

I watched 16 BLOCKS (2006) yesterday. It's a serviceable, generic cop action film. Nothing spectacular but it's nicely done.

Bruce Willis stars as a middle-aged, alcoholic New York City police detective. He's got a bad leg, he's burned out and all he wants to do is go home and sleep off his hangover. Instead, he's assigned to escort a prisoner (Mos Def) 16 blocks uptown where a grand jury awaits his testimony. Mos Def is going to drop the dime on a crooked cop (David Morse) and the crooked cop and his crooked buddies don't want that to happen. So they set out to stop Willis from getting his charge to the courthouse. I have to wonder why they'd go to so much conspicuous trouble when they surely could have arranged to have Mos Def killed while he was still in custody at the precinct house.

There's all sorts of vehicular mayhem, gun battles and foot chases throughout New York City as Willis becomes determined to deliver Mos Def safe and sound even though it seems that almost the entire NYPD is against him. Along the way, the two men learn much about each other and develop mutual respect. Does Willis succeed? What do you think?

16 BLOCKS is an action movie leavened with a character study of two men (one a career cop, one a career crook) both in need of redemption. Director Richard Donner keeps things moving at a brisk pace and the location shooting in New York City and Toronto give the film a gritty, realistic urban vibe.

It's not a great film but I enjoyed it.

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