Genre: Action & Adventure
Runtime: 1 hr 37 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Bruce Willis, Mos Def, David Morse, Jenna Stern, Casey Sander, Cylk Cozart, David Zayas
It's sweet, but it's slow - sometimes too slow.
Review by: SteveRhodes
Added: 8 years ago
Detective Jack Mosley, played in an endearing performance by Bruce Willis, is worn out and depressed. Looking like he should have retired a decade ago, he can barely make it up or down the stairs without getting exhausted. As he lumbers along on his bad leg, Willis's Jack is miles away from an action hero. In fact, he's not especially interested in anything but booze. He doesn't just drink on the job, he stops at a liquor store while he's in the process of transporting a prisoner who has to be at court by 10 a.m. in order to testify in front of a grand jury whose term is about to expire.
The movie, which essentially happens in real time, follows Jack and his wimpy prisoner, a two-bit hood named Eddie Bunker who once saw something he shouldn't have, a cop killing an innocent victim. With a twangy accent that is supposed to be annoying and is, Mos Def is terrific as the little guy with a dream -- his own cake bakery -- who find himself in way over his head with a whole host of bad cops out to kill him before he gives them up.
With his a perfect look of boyish innocence, David Morse plays Detective Frank Nugent, the head of the forces of evil. A methodical and intelligent officer, Frank leads his large herd of cats in a big chase for the two little mice. But, as mice will, Jack and Eddie keep managing to escape in the dense pedestrian and car traffic in New York City's Chinatown. They only have 16 blocks to get to the courthouse, but Frank and his boys are all over them. Logic isn't high on the agenda, but it is easy to suspend disbelief with the exception of a key scene late in the film when Frank has Jack and lets him go so that someone else can get him. This makes no sense since Jack keeps slipping away.
By LETHAL WEAPON series director Richard Donner, 16 BLOCKS is a bit of a surprise. His signature LETHAL WEAPON franchise is stuffed to the gills with non-stop action and over-the-top humor. But, even at just 97 minutes, 16 BLOCKS is frequently slack. It's sweet, but it's slow - sometimes too slow. Several scenes feel like everyone on the set just got overwhelmed and decided to take a break, but the editor forgot and left the scenes in anyway.
Ultimately the story works because we grow to like Jack and Eddie quite a bit, and we enjoy rooting for them as they flee a quite credible villain. But most of all, it's just fun. It's a popcorn picture that is a perfect pick for a cold or rainy March day.
16 BLOCKS runs 1:37. It is rated PG-13 for "violence, intense sequences of action, and some strong language" and would be acceptable for kids around 10 and up.