Tuesday, May 30, 2006

16 BLOCKS: Donner's Retread Flick

16 BLOCKS (cop thriller)
Cast: Bruce Willis, Mos Def and David Morse
Director: Richard Donner
Time: 95 mins
Rating: * * 1/2

Bruce Willis in 16 BLOCKS
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? After a long night’s work, veteran cop Jack Mosley (Willis), is assigned one more task: to escort petty criminal Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) to the courthouse to testify in a case. The journey is just 16 blocks in New York City but Jack is waylaid by rogue cops who want to kill Eddie to stop him from spilling the beans against them. As they flee for their lives, Jack and Eddie become buddies…

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? This may be another attempt by Donner to recall his glory days of Superman, The Omen and Lethal Weapon but 16 Blocks turns out to be more of a retread than a potential blockbuster. The ‘waylaid witness’ plot has been done in The Gauntlet in 1977 by Clint Eastwood, and the ‘odd couple’ thingy is not only clichéd but also incredulous here. The motor-mouth Eddie is such a pain in the neck that I would not have lasted 10 minutes with him without gagging him. To have a guy like Jack risking his life for him is just asking too much.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watching the movie is like being on an intellectual rollercoaster: One moment, you just cannot believe what you see… and the next, something happens to restore your faith in the script. And for a change, Willis is actually acting instead of just spewing one-liners. He is at his best as the broken-down cop although there is not much chemistry between him and Mos Def.

LOWLIGHTS: The story stretches credibility a bit too far, especially the ending which requires us to believe that a scheming cop like Frank Nugent (Morse) would do something so utterly stupid, like crucifying himself.

THE LOWDOWN? A vehicle for Bruce Willis and Richard Donner fans.


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