Directed by Richard Donner, 16 Blocks is written by Richard Wenk, stars Bruce Willis and rapper Mos Def. Originally released 28th April 2006 the film is to be released on digital platforms 7th June and on Amazon Prime Video 18th June, 2021.
They chose the worst man for the job. They expected him to fail, but he wasn’t about to let a witness be murdered on his watch. Personal demons put Jack (Bruce Willis, Die Hard), a New York City cop, at rock bottom. But when he’s assigned to escort a petty criminal to testify before the grand jury, a violent turn of events means this down-and-out cop needs to pull it together to save not only the life of the witness but his own as they are hunted across the city. The clock is ticking in this exhilarating race against time. Will justice be served or will there be two more bodies to add to the crime toll of the city?
If you’ve read my reviews then you’ll know I’m a big fan of Willis’ films. More often than not they are filled with the right ingredients for a great action film. Car chases, explosions and guns (plenty of guns), 16 Blocks is absolutely no exception to that rule. What the film does differently is add an under current of a deep personal battles and friendship.
Willis’ character Jack has to transfer key witness Eddie (Mos Def) from the local prison to the courthouse. It’s a mere 16 blocks away. But as this is a Bruce Willis film you know it’s not going to be that easy. Sure enough it isn’t. All is going smoothly until Jack bumps into an old friend and colleague, Frank Nugent (David Morse). Frank acts as the catalyst for things taking a darker turn.
The action ensues as Jack takes accompanies Eddie through the mean streets of New York. Hot on their tail is a band of corrupt cops desperate to keep their dirty secret under wraps.
Willis perfectly plays the cop who has hit rock bottom. Turning to drink to take away life’s pains but still with the determination inside him to do the right thing. Even if that may well put him deeper in trouble.
Richard Donner’s direction takes Willis away from the stereotypical action films we are used to seeing him in. With 16 Blocks Donner has brought us a grittier, heartfelt Willis performance to our screens. Using dramatic camera angles and high stakes action, the viewer remains fully engaged throughout the 102 minute runtime.
Throughout the film there are moments which will shock and surprise. 16 Blocks gets right to the heart of the view and (no spoilers) the bus scenes was one of those moments. A great piece of film making.
I am yet to see a Willis film I didn’t enjoy and I can definitely add this one to that list. Whilst 16 Blocks is never going to be an Oscar winner, it definitely tickets all the right boxers. Another perfect beer and pizza movie from Willis.
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