Going into 16 Blocks, I had pretty low to no expectations. I'm not the biggest Bruce Willis fan, even though I love Die Hard 1 & 3 (but that's about it). Mos Def, however, I like his music, and enjoy his acting more.
Saying all that, the beginning of the film seems like a flashback with a voice over by Bruce; very, very clever on the writer, Richard Wenk, and director, the legendary Richard Donner. I won't tell you why I'm saying this; it possibly might ruin the film. Just know, the beginning scene in the film brings you into the story without really letting you know anything about the movie.
The basic premise of 16 Blocks is Bruce, an aging detective in the New York Police Department, is asked to escort Mos Def, a prisoner and star witness in a court case, to the court house. It seems simple enough, roughly two hours to go 16 blocks. But what Bruce doesn't know is this witness saw certain New York cops in illegal activity.
Immediately, the story picks up because these certain NY cops don't want Mos Def to reach the court. It's up to Bruce to protect Mos from danger, and death. The chase is on! It starts out in a car, but ends up in an ambulance - no, that doesn't give anything away, don't worry. Believe me, you'll see.
Throughout the film, you get to see the brilliance of Mos Def as an actor. First of all, his voice in the film reminds me of the drunk bum Damon Wayans used to play on In Living Color! But, Mos plays him as a more competent person; yes, he's a criminal, but he knows he did something wrong and is trying to fix that.
As the story moves along, Mos' character goes from scared to defiant to back to scared to confident. And that's really only in the first hour. Mos Def is the star of this film, even though Bruce's name is first billing.
Bruce, well, he does have a mustache - which I hate (see Pierce Brosnan in The Matador). However, in this film, it's needed and it actually works for the role. Nearly drunk and almost retired, Bruce's character must force himself to keep Mos alive and get him to the court house in the time needed, by any means necessary.
The only main supporting actor is David Morse, who just seems to play a bad guy in every movie he's in. His role is to stop Bruce from getting Mos to the court, again, by any means necessary. You hate this guy from the very start of the movie, and keep hating him until the end. It's almost as if you want 'one of New York's finest' dead - and you do. David's performance is one to remember, and one he should be proud of, as well.
16 Blocks is definitely a film I recommend to anyone (over the age of 13, of course)! You will truly be watching the next great actor of our time - Mos Def, and his aging co-star, Bruce Willis, in a role that fits his age.
16 Blocks is in theaters now; it's rated PG-13.