"A Change is Gonna Come"
What You Need To Know:
As Mosley and Eddie face trying circumstances, their interaction between action sequences is compelling. Eddie senses that Mosley is unhappy and urges him to improve his situation by doing what’s right. Mosley transforms as the movie transpires, as he fights for justice against his crooked co-workers. With strong moral elements commending justice, compassion and perseverance, 16 BLOCKS is an entertaining movie about redemption, though media-wise viewers should be warned the movie contains excessive foul language and moderate action violence.
(BB, H, LLL, VV, N, AA, M) Strong moral worldview depicting corruption of New York City Police Department, commending justice, redemption, compassion, and perseverance under difficult circumstances, plus some light humanist elements; 31 obscenities and six profanities; moderate action violence including gun shots, blood, and a scene in which a large bus is chased and caused to crash; no sex scenes or sexual immorality; brief naturalistic upper male nudity; alcohol use by one character who is a functioning alcoholic; no smoking; and, deception and abuse of authority.
16 BLOCKS is a crime thriller based on the story of an aging, washed-out cop who faces a series of dangerous hindrances as he attempts to escort a witness from an NYPD police station to a courthouse.
Jack Mosley (played by Bruce Willis) is a slow-moving, weary-eyed New York police officer with a drinking problem and a cheerless, cynical demeanor. He begrudgingly accepts an assignment to transport jabbering criminal witness Eddie (played by Mos Def) to testify before a grand jury at a courthouse 16 blocks away in Lower Manhattan. Although Mosley’s mission should be a routine 15-minute task, he soon discovers that several of his colleagues are opposed to the two reaching their destination, and are willing to use whatever force necessary to prevent them from making it to the courthouse. Among their armed opposition is Mosley’s ex-partner Frank (David Morse), who is the supervisor of one of the detectives Eddie is set to testify against. The trip, which soon spirals into a perilous game of hide and seek, not only challenges Mosely’s weathered skills as a cop, but also forces him to confront his own dusty skeletons dangling in the closet.
At the movie’s outset, it becomes quickly evident that Mosley is an unhappy individual tired of life. He limps around like a sad old, sluggish dog, with bags under his eyes and sweat beading from his brow, and he initially approaches his assignment as an unfortunate nuisance with which he must contend before returning to his whisky bottle. He responds to Eddie’s incessant talking by jibing, “Life’s too long, and you’re just making it longer.”
Eddie, by contrast, is an amusingly annoying, nasal-voiced blabber mouth who becomes increasingly endearing as the movie progresses. Despite having spent over half his life in prison, he remains eternally optimistic, toting around a scrapbook of recipes to remind himself of his dream to one day head his own bakery.
As the odd couple faces life-threatening circumstances, their interaction between sequences of running, hiding and dodging gunshots is compelling. Eddie senses that Mosley is unhappy with his life, and urges him to improve his situation, but Mosley banters, “Days change, seasons change, but not people. . . . I’m not a good guy, Eddie.”
Eddie cites Chuck Berry and Barry White, who both served time in prison before becoming famous musicians, as a response to Mosley’s pessimism. While initially unconvinced, Mosley seems to transform as the movie transpires, protecting both himself and his unlikely friend, while fighting to triumph over his crooked co-workers.
With strong moral elements commending justice, compassion and perseverance under difficult circumstances, 16 BLOCKS is an entertaining movie about redemption. On the other hand, media-wise viewers should be warned that the movie contains excessive foul language and moderate action violence.