16 Blocks

Directed By: Richard Donner

Starring: Bruce Willis, Mos Def, David Morse, Cylk Cozart, and Casey Sander

Bruce Willis and Clint Eastwood have a lot in common.  They are both iconic action movie stars that defined their generations.  They've both starred in classic films that will live on for ages.  They both have this unique charm that allows them to turn grumpy old assholes into lovable characters on the big screen.  They both can get away with ridiculously cheesy lines like "You're killin' me" because they're legends.  With all of this, it's easy to argue that Bruce Willis is the modern day Clint Eastwood.  The 2006 action thriller 16 Blocks definitely proves that there's merit to the comparison of these screen legends.

Today is Detective Jack Mosley's (Willis) lucky day.  After working a full shift through the night, he's now been tasked with escorting convict Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) to the courthouse 16 blocks from the police station by 10am.  Like any alcoholic, Jack decides to stop by the liquor store while on duty with Eddie.  This isn't his ordinary, everyday assignment though.  While Jack is picking up the cheap stuff in the store, two gunmen ambush Eddie in the car.  Jack shows up just in time to save Eddie and to take out the two gunmen. 

When Jack takes Eddie with him to his favorite bar for sanctuary, he's confronted by his old partner Detective Frank Nugent (David Morse) and learns that the kid is about to testify in court against some cops.  These cops, including Nugent, want Eddie dead.  Jack has a difference of opinion with his buddies and flees the bar with Eddie in an effort to get him on the stand as a witness.  Now, the unlikeliest pair is on the run from the cops trying to make it to the courthouse.

With Bruce Willis' birthday just passing on March 19th, I'd like to wish a happy belated birthday to the action icon.  The 57-year old was in great form as Jack Mosley six years ago.  He brings a grouchy but lovable character to life on the big screen in this action thriller.  Even if the movie isn't terribly great, you can't help but love Willis every moment he's on camera.  Beyond Willis' performance, David Morse does an impressive job as Detective Frank Nugent.  He's great at playing slimy, detestable villains and makes Nugent one badass corrupt cop.

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the performances by Willis and Morse, 16 Blocks has one colossal problem, and that is Mos Def's Eddie Bunker.  Mos Def has created one of the most annoying characters to ever invade the big screen.  His character Eddie acts stupid and plays on tired stereotypes.  His voice alone irks me.  The way he carries himself doesn't help either.  Mos Def truly gives a horrendous performance in 16 Blocks that really takes away from the film.

16 Blocks is a fairly straightforward action thriller.  For a film that harps on the theme that people can change, it was certainly easy to predict who would deliver the good and bad performances.  That shows that people can't change their talents.  While Bruce Willis and David Morse are talented actors, Mos Def can't change the fact that he's anything but an actor.  With a mixed bag of performances from the cast, the film is a bit uneven in terms of entertainment value.  Have a few rounds of beer with this one because 16 Blocks gets a 0.06% rating.