Willis steps out of his typical gung-ho macho man role to play Jack Mosley who was once a great cop, but who's since lost his shine and now finds comfort in the nearness of a whiskey bottle. He's got a bum leg, a tired face and a past that has completely eaten away his sense of self worth. But before finishing his latest shift at the precinct, he reluctantly takes on one last assignment on his way out the door. And why not? Eddie Bunker is a petty two-bit crook and the courthouse is only 16 blocks away. And he's got 2 hours to get there.
But of course we wouldn't have a movie if it were that simple. Shortly after throwing Eddie in the back of the car, Jack discovers a plot perpetrated by what seems to be the entire police force to ensure that Eddie never makes it to his court appointment. As Jack's assignment begins to unravel, this is ironically the same moment that things begin to go wrong for the audience as well. Are we truly supposed to believe that the entire NYPD police force is on the take? Surely Jack could find someone who would be willing to listen to his side. Nope. All of the NYPD are satisfied thinking Jack has finally lost his marbles.
Veteran action director Richard Donner is in familiar territory having made the four Lethal Weapon films, but here he's satisfied with filling most of the runtime with generic apartment buildings and typical crowded city street scenes as our heroes trudge through the hordes of humanity. Sure, he knows how to stage a nasty gunfight sequence, but he gives us nothing we haven't seen hundreds of times before. The only real tension in 16 Blocks comes from knowing that the pair has only 2 hours to reach their destination. But since the game of cat and mouse plays out in near real time, a quick glance at your wristwatch can remove any sense of mystery.
Threaded amongst the gunshots, explosions and treacherous bus chases is an uninteresting character development subplot. Donner periodically stops down the action and holes up the characters in a filthy coldwater flat or musty Chinese laundry while they discuss each other's past or future desires. We learn that Jack was a cop who had everything but quit on the system, and Eddie is just a kid who had nothing yet refuses to stop chasing his dreams. Screenwriter Richard Wenk's intention was to create an interesting story of how two strangers change when thrown together and the effect they have on each other during a treacherous situation. But the story just isn't very convincing nor do they find a way to make me care. Rather than creating a story that allows the audience to connect with the characters, they make us more interested in finding out how the story ends. And that's not a good thing.
Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1
Subtitles: English; French; Spanish; Closed Captioned.
Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; director's commentary; making-of featurette; alternate ending.
* Alternate Ending - with commentary from director Richard Donner and writer Richard Wenk.
* Deleted Scenes - with forced commentary from director Richard Donner and writer Richard Wenk.
o Check On It
o A Woman Like Me
* Trailers - Original theatrical trailer.
Number of discs: - 1 - Keepcase Packaging
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