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16 Blocks

16 Blocks

Genre: Action/Thriller
Directed by
Released by:
Warner Bros.

In Short: Bruce Willis scores a big acting win as a loser cop traveling sixteen New York City blocks to deliver a witness to a grand jury.

Going the Distance
Bruce Willis Delivers the Goods
By Jenny Peters

If you remember Bruce Willis as the smirking guy from "Moonlighting," you missed the smart, interesting choices he's made for years in projects like "Pulp Fiction," "12 Monkeys," "Nobody's Fool," "The Sixth Sense," to name just a few. With "16 Blocks” he cements his position as one of the most interesting fifty-something actors working in movies today.

His Jack Mosley is a banged-up, broken-down, paunchy NYPD detective, who drinks his breakfast and just goes through the motions of his job. One fateful morning after working the graveyard shift, he's sent to pick up a protected witness to transport him the "16 Blocks" to the city courthouse downtown. That witness, played by Mos Def in a quirky, terrific performance, is small-time criminal Eddie Bunker, who's using his testimony to get a parole from jail. Of course, there are some very bad people that don't want Eddie to make it downtown to testify. And so the tense chase begins, as Jack and Eddie dodge bullets and bad guys in their journey south.

These two odd characters are what set "16 Blocks" apart from your typical cop thriller. Yes, the film has a plausible plot and enough action to make fans of the genre happy, but it goes deeper, exploring the idea of personal change. Can a middle-aged alcoholic loser actually shift his fate? And what about a career petty criminal who wants to start a new life, and open a bakery? Even the most cynical moviegoer won't be sure of the answers along the way, or of how this taut tale will play out, for director Richard Donner (who directed all four "Lethal Weapon" films, as well as "Maverick") keeps the audience on the edge and in doubt until the credits roll. What more could you ask for in the crime thriller genre?

(Published: 03/03/06)

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