16 Blocks

 
Directed by: Richard Donner
Written by:Richard Wenk
Starring: Bruce Willis, Mos Def, David Morse, Jenna Stern, Casey Sander
Released: July 20, 2006
Grade: B-

In most “cop” movies, razor sharp detectives solve crimes and capture criminals with enthusiastic fervour.  This is not the case in 16 Blocks.  Police officer Jack Mosley (Willis) is a tired, forlorn figure who has no passion whatsoever.  He mumbles when he speaks, he walks with a limp and he goes about his day as if every task is a laborious chore.  Jack was once a high profile cop but those days are long behind him.

At his precinct, Jack has little respect.  He’s continually given dead-end assignments by his boss and the latest sees him escorting a petty criminal from his jail cell to the courthouse.  The prisoner’s name is Eddie Bunker (Def) and he is required as a witness at a separate court hearing.

On leaving the station, Jack learns that Eddie is no ordinary person and that this is no ordinary assignment.  In two hours time, Eddie is scheduled to testify against Frank Nugent (Morse), Jack’s former partner and one of the most corrupt police officers in the force.  If you can connect the dots, you’ll realise where this is heading.  Frank has no intention of letting Eddie speak and will use his goons to ensure Jack’s passenger never reaches his destination.

There is one flaw in Frank’s plan and his name is Jack Mosley.  Awoken from years of slumber, Jack takes a surprising stand against the corruption which has engulfed his profession.  He will put his life on the line to get Eddie to the courthouse on time.

Bruce Willis has been well cast in a role which makes good use of his raspy voice.  His sickly appearance and lack of interest made me appreciate my own life a little more.  The weakest link is actor David Morse (The Green Mile) who has nothing to work with as the stereotypical bad guy.  His character is always popping up at the right time and speaks with thoughtless confidence.

It’s a moderately interesting premise but when you break it down, 16 Blocks is a stock-standard thriller which takes few chances.  Every time Jack and Eddie find themselves trapped with seemingly no way of escaping, they find a way out.  If you think it’s possible to “make your own luck”, you might believe their story.  If you don’t, you’ll be frustrated by the many close shaves.