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16 Blocks

Film Three Stars

I was looking forward to the film 16 Blocks, especially after the movie Hostage (reviewed) had marked such a strong return for Bruce Willis to the big screen action genre, plus this was directed by the very cool Richard Donner. However I have to say I was surprised on a lot of counts.

Surprised, but still very entertained. There are some strong performances here and one quite annoyingly bad one. There was also not that much action to be had, and the film relied a lot more on dialogue and characters than I had expected.

16Blocks.jpgThanks again to the wonderful Edinburgh Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema who helped me review this film. They are going through some refurbishments at the moment, but stick with them. It's a good cinema and it's going to get better. I just hope that behind that screened off area there's a mammoth hot dog spit being built...okay...just in my dreams.

I had expected 16 Blocks to be packed with action, however it wasn't at all, and it did a fair job of building the two lead characters from the opening clichés that we originally saw. This was done slowly, and quite subtley until the final act when characters helped the audience along by explaining events a lot more rather than letting them happen. It wasn't too bad though, and there are a number of places where the clichés that you expect are thrown out the window, and at one point in the ambulance, one is thrown right back at you which was quite surprising.

So the writing was strong, and that was apparent in the plot which took a number of surprising and unexpected turns, but there was something lacking in all these instances and I can't quite put my finger on it. The suspense build up wasn't there, so although I might be surprised at a twist - and I was on a couple of them - I didn't actually get so into the film that it was a real surprised. I acknowledged the clever turn and moved on with the story.

Let's point out some positives though. Willis was good as an aging cop struggling with alcoholism, weight, and a poor leg. He did give the impression that he was world weary. The star of the show was, without a doubt, the ever excellent David Morse. He's unfortunately always playing the bad guy, but he does it so well and so naturally. I remember him from his days on St. Elsewhere which I loved, and now his acting has just ramped up a notch or twelve.

While I'm on actors (I could've been cruel and said since I've now covered the actors) let's talk about Mos Def and how he was the nail across the chalkboard throughout the movie. Def's whining voice was the most irritating thing from the film and really grated in every scene. Then there was his constant mumbling and failure to complete the pronunciation of words, we both mentioned after the film that we couldn't make out what he was saying at some points and caught up using other characters reactions and lines. He was pretty poor for those reasons, however his acting was quite good.

Overall it was a solid thriller with some nice twists and turns and a couple of good performances. Yet I can't shake the feeling that there was just something missing, it didn't grab me and pull me into the characters as much as I had thought and it didn't catch me unawares with the story, it was just entertaining.

IMDB Film Details
Edinburgh Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema



I agree Richard, this movie definitely doesn't have the wow! factor, but its a solid entertaining ride fromstart to finish.


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