Well it took about 12-years, but Richard Donner has finally returned to make a good film. 16 Blocks isn’t a great film, but it’s definitely a solid tense thriller. Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis) is a tired old alcoholic cop, who is given a last minute assignment: transfer Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) 16 blocks to the courthouse, where he is supposed to testify in front of a grand jury that is set to expire within 2 hours.
The stage is set. We have the timetable. We have the main characters. All we need are the obstacles – and they come fast and hard: apparently Bunker is witness to police corruption – and it’s those dirty cops, led by Frank Nugent (David Morse) that will be trying to stop Bunker and Mosley from making it to the courthouse on time. Donner does a good job setting it all up, and the execution reminds us why his films from the late 1980s were so damn enjoyable.
The music, by Klaus Badelt, is appropriately tense and percussive, and really helps accentuate the action. With the exception of one or two moments, including the rather obvious saccharine epilogue, and Mos Def’s annoying accent, I really got into the film. It’s not so much about the destination (we all know how this type of movie ends) – it’s about the journey. And Donner and his crew make it one enjoyable ride.