Directed by: Richard Donner
Premise: Police lieutenant Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis) is assigned to escort a witness (Mos Def) to testify in court against corrupt New York police officers. En route the two become involved in an assassination attempt by other officers and Mosley must protect the witness from his fellow officers.
What Works: 16 Blocks is a surprisingly good film, mostly because of some standout performances. Bruce Willis does the weary alcoholic hero very well, despite being given very little to work with. Mos Def is extremely good as a dim-witted witness for the prosecution and he carries a lot of the weight of the picture. David Morse plays the lead villain and he brings sophistication to the role that raises the conflict above a mere cat and mouse chase and into a confrontation between duty, loyalty, and ethics. The film is shot in real time and the continuity of the action is done very well.
What Doesn’t: The story is a by-the-numbers police conspiracy plot. It does not deviate much from the genre conventions and there are some noticeable plot holes as the antagonists arrive in places with little or no motivation.
Bottom Line: 16 Blocks is a fun and slightly above average buddies in action film. The film accomplishes what it sets out to do. This is Bruce Willis’ best role in some time and Mos Def and David Morse prove that they are actors worthy of attention.
Episode: #87 (March 5, 2006)