Reviewed by: Bob Rossiter
|Featuring:||Bruce Willis, Mos Def, David Sparrow|
|Director:||Richard Donner (The Goonies / Lethal Weapon / Lethal Weapon 4)|
|Producer:||Randall Emmett, Avi Lerner, Arnold Rifkin, John Thompson, Jim Van Wyck, Bruce Willis, Glen MacPherson|
“For a New York cop and his witness, the distance between life and death just got very short.”
“16 Blocks” is an interesting mixture of two extremes. The action is a typical Hollywood-style, Bruce Willis movie. The old, road-weary cop finds a cause to defend and attempts to see it through to the end with lots of drinking, cussing and shooting along the way. Some of the themes and characterizations, however, almost seem like modern day parables of Biblical principles.
Bruce Willis plays Jack Mosley, an old, out of shape, New York City cop who has a serious drinking problem. He’s been to detox twice, and his coworkers have given up on him ever changing. They just keep him supplied with breath mints to hide his alcoholism from their superiors and the public.
Jack is assigned to transport Eddie Bunker (Mos Def), a small-time crook turned informant, from the jail to the courthouse. This would normally be an easy 16 block trip, but this is no ordinary day, and the people he is testifying against aren’t just the usual bad guys; they are some of the most influential officers of the 14th precinct.
After the first attempt on Eddie’s life, Jack finds out what he’s up against and has to decide who he will side with—his friends and coworkers, or a low-life like Eddie. His decision sets up a cat and mouse chase that lasts throughout the movie. Jack and Eddie try to stay one step ahead of the dirty cops while they inch their way to the courthouse.
Time and again through the movie I was reminded of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for me and others who have accepted Him as their savior. There is nothing about Eddie that makes him worth sacrificing one’s life for, but Jack does just that. Early in the film Jack and Eddie are in a room with at least four other officers that want Eddie dead. Jack shoots one policeman to save Eddie’s life, then holds the rest at gunpoint while he and Eddie escape.
Another time, Jack hijacks a city bus and then helps Eddie escape with the other passengers as cover. When the police find out Jack is in the bus by himself they prepare to storm it and assassinate him. Eddie sees what is about to happen and puts himself in the line of fire to stop the officers, then Jack and Eddie take off with the bus and escape. Eddie’s willingness to help his new friend is a perfect illustration of what Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (NKJV).
One other important theme encouraged in the movie was the importance of truth. I won’t give all the details because it would require revealing a spoiler, but I will say that Jack came to have a new appreciation for truth. As a matter of fact, he puts his life on the line in the final scene, not for Eddie, but because he wants to stand up for the truth.
In spite of these great themes, other factors drop the moral quality of “16 Blocks” to below average. There was no sex/nudity, but there were more than 30 uses of foul language. The f* word was spoken two or three times, and God’s name was misused five times. The rest were moderate obscenities.
There was also enough drinking, lying, deception and blood to keep the movie off the recommended list. The shootings aren’t gory, but both Jack and Eddie walk around in a few scenes with blood on their hands and shirts from being shot.
I will say that those who enjoy Bruce Willis movies will probably like this one as well. I do encourage you to take the PG-13 rating seriously. Young teens and children may have a difficult time distinguishing between the positive themes the moviemakers were encouraging and the raw action they used.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.