Directed by Richard Donner.
Written by Richard Wenk.
Starring Bruce Willis, Mos Def, and David Morse.
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 2/25/06
I'm starting to fall in love with the
freebie--especially if the film attached is pretty good.
That's the case with the new thriller "16
Blocks", directed by Richard Donner of "Lethal Weapon" series fame.
Bruce Willis stars as Jack Mosley, a 20-year vet of the NYPD (and,
naturally, full-fledged alcoholic) that is heading home following a
shift when his lieutenant gives him a gopher task: transport a
witness (Mos Def) to his grand jury hearing a few blocks away before
10 AM. It's already a little after 8, so Jack scoops up the
witness and starts driving to the courthouse...when everything goes
wrong. The problems arise because Jack's old partner, Frank
(David Morse), needs for this witness to NOT make it to that
courthouse on time because that witness has vital information about
Frank and a few of his cop buddies, all of whom are dirty.
I like these kinds of films, thrillers that
(sort of) take place in real time, much like I love how the TV show
"24" takes place in real time. As such, it's fun to watch Jack
try to get the witness the 16 blocks necessary to reach the court
house, by any means necessary. Donner, 75 years old and
counting, displays some of the crackle that made his "Superman"
films and the "Lethal Weapon" flicks so good, by setting up a tense
situation with flawed heroes: Willis has played this character
many times, but by giving his character a bum leg and the alcohol
problems, Donner makes his lead look pretty much awful all movie
long, which works since as the witness, Mos Def gets to make fun of
how shitty he looks all movie long. Mos Def has always been
well-received as an actor and even though his character is
borderline Rob-Schneider-in-"Judge Dredd" annoying, the acting is
solid and the constant jabbering is sometimes pretty funny.
I liked the Morse character the most,
though; sometimes, these thrillers have a tendency to make one of
the bad guys borderline insane, when in fact Morse's character Frank
is only asked to go about his business, occasionally showing flashes
of anger but mostly keeping it together in order to catch Jack,
given that if he doesn't, he's going to jail for a long time.
I always like Morse in his films; he is usually not the bad guy
(although he assisted some in maybe his most famous big part, as Ed
Harris's chief lieutenant in "The Rock") and I like how Morse
handled his part in "16 Blocks." Cool, calm, collected.
I would imagine that most folks in my
packed-house audience did not like the ending to this film; after
being a crafty film for the first 90 minutes or so, the film didn't
finish strong to the hoop. But, the mix of thriller, action,
and comedy is reminiscent of what made the first "Lethal Weapon"
film so good and it makes this one worth seeing on the big screen.
You likey, no?
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard