Wednesday, September 20, 2006

16 Puts Willis and Def on the Block

Sorry. I had nothing better to do than to write a review of a movie.
Something different, I know. But it seems there is a lack of creative
energy this time of year so I thought I'd throw a flint spark toward
the fire.

So I saw 16 Blocks the other night as Sarah and I had not
rented movies in a dog's age. It seems, however, that no
matter how long we refrain from going to Blockbuster (2-3 months
at a time), the selection ALWAYS bites. Regardless, I had
seen previews for 16 Blocks a few months back, and I like
both Mos Def and Bruce Willis and thought 'that sounds cool'.
Surprisingly, I was not disappointed. I seem to remember this
movie getting many so-so to bad reviews from both peers
and critics alike but it just goes to show you - when you're
not sure, watch it yourself.

The characters and story of the film are enjoyable - who
doesn't love seeing Bruce Willis as a 'down-on-his-luck'
washed-up cop who is barely hangin' on to consciousness?
Willis plays Jack Mosley - a cop whose glory years are clearly
behind him but this one final task, probably the last before
retirement, seems to throw a massive curveball into his fairly
empty existence. Def plays a newly jailed felon whose
crime seems to be kept quite secret but his speech and
unrelenting nasal voice would suggest otherwise.

I won't give any spoilers for those who have not seen it,
but basically, Jack Mosley comes to a crossroads of
character where a decision must be made - fight the good
fight and go through hell doing it or 'do what he always
does' and give in. Though the plot twists were a tad predictable
at times, the characters make it work and keep you
guessing and glued to find out what will happen to these
two opposites traveling toward the same point. Def is good
(Hitchhiker's Guide showed alot more of his acting capability)
but Willis steals the show - his brokedown officer role both
disgusts and impresses from the first scene - haggard
skin and hair and excessive tiredness hide a heart that
is deeply buried and newly awakened. Roger Ebert said
it best in a recent review of this film: 'Jack may be middle-aged,
he may be tired, he may be balding, he may be a drunk, but
if he's played by Bruce Willis you don't want to bet against him.
He gets that look in his eye that says: It's going to be a pain
in the ass for me to do this, but I couldn't live with myself if
I didn't.'

The action sequences are very entertaining (especially scenes
with the hijacking of a city bus) but this film
is mostly minimalist in its reliance on character and story to
carry the load. I highly recommend you pick it up the next time
you are panning through the new releases at your local vidshop.
16 Blocks - I give it a 9/10.

website statistics