16 Blocks (12A)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner26/04/2006

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 102 mins

Enjoyable thriller with a complex script, strong performances and solid direction from Richard Donner.

What’s it all about?
Bruce Willis stars as pasty-faced middle-aged detective Jack Mosley, who still has all of his hair, but sports a paunch William Shatner would be proud of. Just as he’s coming off a long nightshift he’s asked to escort a prisoner named Eddie (Mos Def) to a courthouse, where he’s due to testify against some dirty cops.

The Good
There are very few trustworthy thriller directors in Hollywood but Richard Lethal Weapon Donner is unquestionably one of them. As a result, the action sequences are exciting and smartly handled, whilst still leaving plenty of room for character development. In addition, the plot unfolds almost in real time, which, as any fan of TV’s 24 will tell you, creates an extremely tense atmosphere.

The performances are extremely good, although Mos Def’s lisping, motor-mouthed performance takes a lot of getting used to. Clearly, Donner intended the audience to be as irritated by him as Mosley is for the first half, although he gradually wins us (and Mosley) over. As for Willis, he’s playing an ordinary character for once.

The Bad
There are a couple of improbable plot twists and coincidences but they never threaten to derail the film. That said, there’s a sequence set on board a bus that doesn’t work as well as it should. Ironically, it slows things down just as they should be speeding up.

Worth seeing?
In short, 16 Blocks can happily sit alongside Inside Man as an example of a well-made, superbly-acted, intelligent thriller. More of these, please. Worth seeing.

Film Trailer

16 Blocks (12A)
Be the first to review 16 Blocks...
image
01 The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (tbc)

Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, ...

image
02 The Theory of Everything (tbc)

Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Emily Watson

image
03 Pride (15)

Bill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, Imelda Sta...

image
04 What We Did on Our Holidays (12A)

David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Rosamund Pike, Anne...

image
05 The Guest (15)

Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Ethan Embry

Content updated: 02/09/2014 10:07

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Night Moves Film Review

Engaging and provocative, this is a fiercely introspective thriller from writer-director Kelly Reichardt, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films

Hot Tickets

Film 4 Summer ScreenFilm 4 Summer Screen

Taking over the big screen at Somerset House again for August 2014, the Film 4 Summer Screen series brings a variety of classics and brand new films to audiences in the capital.