’16 Blocks’ makes viewer as depressed as its lead

Ryan Haidet


David Morse as Frank Nugent, Bruce Willis as Jack Mosley and Mos Def as Eddie Bunker star in Alcon Entertainment and Millennium Films’ action thriller 16 Blocks. PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Sixteen blocks.

That’s all a criminal has to be taken to get to court for his scheduled appearance.

What seems like a simple job is given to burned-out, alcoholic officer Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis).

16 Blocks

Starring Bruce Willis, Mos Def and David Morse

Directed by Richard Donner

Distributed by Warner Bros.

Rated PG-13 for violence, intense sequences of action and some strong language.

Stater rating: **½

He doesn’t want the job at first but is told by another cop, “You have 118 minutes to get a little hemorrhoid 16 blocks.” Mosley unwillingly takes the assignment.

Mos Def plays Eddie Bunker, the birthday cake-loving criminal being transported to testify. All he wants to do when he gets out of jail is open his own place that makes birthday cakes.

On the 16-block trip to the courthouse, Mosley stops to get something alcoholic to drink, leaving Bunker in the car alone. Within the few minutes Mosley is in the store, people try to kill Bunker.

Bunker has information that would incriminate six police officers, which is why they want him dead.

Suddenly, Mosley is faced by his ex-partner and co-workers, all of whom will be incriminated by Bunker’s testimony. Out of nowhere, he seems to become a caring cop and sides with the criminal, vowing to get him to the trial.

This decision results in some interesting and humorous shoot-outs with his ex-partner, making this 16-block journey one that lasts too long.

The film is drawn out and encompasses a story that has been told in film before – police want somebody dead who is going to incriminate them.

While there is a lot of intense action that garners an audience’s attention, the hard-to-care-about characters make the movie one-dimensional.

Willis resembles Billy Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa character in this movie – except, unlike Thornton, Willis is not entertaining at all.

He drinks a lot, stumbles around and looks miserable in the movie. It’s hard to believe somebody who seems to have been a miserable man for years suddenly has a change of heart and actually cares about a criminal in a matter of 10 minutes.

Watching Willis in 16 Blocks can make a viewer as miserable as his portrayal of his character.

But it’s the criminal in the movie who steals the award for the worst character in the film.

Rapper Mos Def is the most annoying to watch because it’s hard to understand anything he says in his baby-like voice. Although his character is more likable than Willis’, especially with his birthday cake obsession and hilarious one-liners (when I could understand them), he doesn’t seem to fit in with his police escort.

Mos Def does have potential to be a great actor, but director Richard Donner doesn’t give him the opportunity to shine.

One of the two, preferably Willis, should have been replaced with somebody who would have been more compatible with the other.

The best performance comes from David Morse, who plays corrupt cop Frank Nugent. His delivery of lines to Willis during the shoot-out scene has impeccable timing. He also does a great job creating the persona of a corrupt police officer who is easy to hate.

Morse’s performance doesn’t save the movie, though, as almost everything from character’s actions to plot twists to the ending are easily predictable.

Basically, it’s a story that has been told before. The action is the only element that makes this movie worthwhile. Unfortunately, there’s not enough of it.

Contact ALL correspondent Ryan Haidet at [email protected].