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(Review originally written at 23 June 2008)

Basically everything about this movie indicates that this was just an in between movie. An in between movie for the studios, an in between movie for Richard Donner and an in between movie for Bruce Willis and Mos Def. You can tell this mostly by the movie its cheap and simplistic look, as if the entire movie got shot in only a couple of weeks time. It was obviously not a movie they expected to sweep any awards or break any box office records. Nevertheless "16 Blocks" became a pretty big success, for the simple reason that this is a fine and entertaining movie.

Not much was to be expected from this movie, since it featured a simple concept, Bruce Willis with a mustache and a very limited budget. Perhaps this is why the movie surprised me positively. Because my expectations weren't anything too high I simply set back, not fully knowing what to expect from the movie. "16 Blocks" turned out to be simply well made entertainment.

The movie is very simple and therefor also easy to follow. It's entire story mostly relies on one single concept of burned out cop Bruce Willis trying to get Mos Def on time to the court house for his testimony, 16 blocks away from the precinct. Yeah of course more happens in between but the movie at all time keeps its focus on its two main characters, which means that the movie also has no distracting plot lines or too many unnecessary characters. So its simplicity is one of the movie its best elements.

It's simplicity can also be seen back in the movie its visual look and style. The movie features hand held camera work and the streets of New York were obviously not closed off during shooting and the people in the background are obviously no extra's but real life citizens, who often look surprised as seeing the camera or Bruce Willis running around between them. Because not much got set up for the movie, the movie also has a fast and rushed feeling, which again is consistent with the movie its main concept.

Lots of people were worried about seeing Bruce Willis as a 'loser' burned out cop and other people were mad that he kept on doing movies like this, pushing the filming of the new fourth Die Hard movie more and more back. So expectations and anticipations for Bruce Willis in this movie weren't too high from anyone but he simply does a good job, which is no big surprise, since he of course always has been more than a capable actor. Mos Def also does a good job at playing a different kind of character. He could had played his character very simple and safe but he picks a different approach with his character, which also works out refreshing for the movie. It also was good to see David Morse in a big successful production. He acts and plays his character as he had never been away from big respectable box office successes.

Simply a good and entertaining movie to watch.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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