Promotional film poster
|Directed by||Richard Donner|
|Produced by||Avi Lerner |
Jim Van Wyck
|Written by||Richard Wenk|
|Starring||Bruce Willis |
|Music by||Klaus Badelt|
|Edited by||Steven Mirkovich|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Budget||$55 million|
|Box office||$65.7 million|
16 Blocks is a 2006 American action thriller film directed by Richard Donner and starring Bruce Willis, Mos Def, and David Morse. The film unfolds in the real time narration method. It was Donner's last directorial credit for many years until it was announced in 2020 that he would direct a fifth Lethal Weapon film.
Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis) is an alcoholic, burned-out NYPD detective. Despite a late shift the night before, his lieutenant orders him to escort a witness, Eddie Bunker (Mos Def), from local custody to the courthouse 16 blocks away to testify on a police corruption case before a grand jury at 10 a.m. Bunker tries to be friendly with Mosley, telling him of his aspirations to move to Seattle to become a cake baker with his sister who he has never met, but Mosley is uninterested, and stops at a liquor store. They are suddenly ambushed by a gunman, and Mosley drags Bunker to a local bar to take shelter and call for backup. Mosley's former partner, Frank Nugent (David Morse), and several other officers arrive. Nugent and his men are part of the corruption scheme, and he tells Mosley that Bunker is not worth defending as his testimony will likely expose several corrupt officers, including Nugent. The corrupt cops try to frame Bunker for firing at an officer before they try to kill him. Mosley intervenes, rescuing Bunker and fleeing.
Mosley briefly stops at his sister Diane's (Jenna Stern) apartment to retrieve guns and ammo, and learns the police have already approached her about his activities earlier that day. He and Bunker take steps to further elude the police, and Mosley is wounded in the process. They become cornered in a run-down apartment building as Nugent and his men search floor by floor. Mosley calls the district attorney to arrange for help, but purposely gives the wrong apartment number, suspecting there is a mole involved. Mosley and Bunker are able to escape onto a passenger bus, and as the police follow them, Mosley is forced to treat the passengers as hostages. The bus crashes into a construction site and is soon surrounded by the ESU. Aware that Nugent will likely order the ESU to raid the bus, risking the safety of the passengers, Mosley allows the passengers to go free, using their cover to allow Bunker to sneak off the bus in the confusion. Mosley finds a tape recorder in the discarded possessions on the bus, and prepares a farewell message to Diane.
To his surprise, Bunker returns to the bus; while Nugent is ready to fire on him, Nugent is made to stand down by a superior officer. Bunker has come to see Mosley as his friend and wants to be there for him to see this through. Bunker's tenacity convinces Mosley to get to the courthouse, and he manages to drive the bus into an alley, temporarily blocking the police from following them. He finds that Bunker has been wounded, and calls Diane, a paramedic, to bring an ambulance around to help, despite knowing she will be followed. Diane cares for Mosley and Bunker's wounds, though Bunker still needs further treatment at a hospital. As Diane's ambulance drives away, the police stop her but discover the ambulance is empty; she had a second ambulance pick up Mosley and Bunker that would not be under similar surveillance. Meanwhile, Mosley reveals to Bunker that should he testify, not only will Nugent be convicted but so would Mosley as one of the corrupt cops. Mosley gets off a block from the courthouse and wishes Bunker luck with his bakery, instructing the paramedic to take Bunker to the Port Authority and put him on a bus for Seattle. Bunker promises to send him a cake on his birthday.
Mosley continues to the courthouse, where the police and ESU are waiting for him, as well as the district attorney. Mosley enters the courthouse building through the underground garage, encountering Nugent alone, who tries unsuccessfully to dissuade him from testifying in Bunker's place. Mosley enters the courthouse proper, where one of Nugent's men (David Zayas) tries to shoot Mosley but is killed by one of the ESU snipers. Mosley informs the district attorney that he will testify in exchange for Bunker having his record expunged, also revealing that he had recorded the conversation with Nugent in the garage on the tape recorder, which he submits as evidence.
Two years later, Mosley is freed from prison. He celebrates his birthday with Diane and other friends, and is surprised to find that the cake had indeed come from Bunker, who has been successful in starting "Eddie & Jack's Good Sign Bakery" in Seattle.
- Bruce Willis as Det. Jack Mosley
- Mos Def as Edward "Eddie" Bunker
- David Morse as Det. Frank Nugent
- Jenna Stern as Diane Mosley
- Casey Sander as Capt. Dan Gruber
- Cylk Cozart as Det. Jimmy Mulvey
- David Zayas as Det. Robert "Bobby" Torres
- Robert Racki as Det. Jerry Shue
- Patrick Garrow as Det. Touhey
- Sasha Roiz as Det. Kaller
- Jeff Kelly as Det. Shlong
- Conrad Pla as Det. Ortiz
- Hechter Ubarry as Det. Edward Maldonado
- Richard Fitzpatrick as Deputy Commissioner Wagner
- Peter McRobbie as Mike Sheehan
- Mike Keenan as Ray Fitzpatrick
- Robert Clohessy as Sgt. Cannova
- Jess Mal Gibbons as Pederson
- Tig Fong as Briggs
- Brenda Pressley as ADA MacDonald
- Kim Chan as Sam
- Carmen Lopez as Gracie
- Scott McCord as Lt. Kincaid
- Steve Kahan as Restaurant Owner
- Tom Wlaschiha as Bus Passenger
- Toni Ellwand as Subway Commuter
- Rob Wiethoff as Court Officer
Willis originally wanted rapper Ludacris to play the part of Eddie Bunker. 16 Blocks is the second film in which David Morse plays the villain to Bruce Willis as the protagonist; the first was 12 Monkeys, in which Morse plays Dr. Peters.
The film was shot with the ending written for the screenplay (as described by Donner and writer Richard Wenk), but they realized during filming that there was "a better opportunity to have a little more empathy and wrap the picture up in a different way." The ending written for the film changed the scenario for the last two scenes in that Mosley (Willis) was instead not shot and killed after meeting the ADA after Nugent (Morse) tried to stop the shooting, with Mosley dying in his arms and the recording playing out loud; the last scene still involves Bunker (Def) having a successful business and sending a cake to Mosley, but is more poignant in having Mosley alive to see the cake.
In its opening weekend, the film grossed $12.7 million, which was the second-highest grossing film of the weekend. As of its May 15, 2006 closing date, the film grossed a total of $36.895 million in the U.S. box office. It made $65.6 million worldwide. According to Box Office Mojo, production costs were around $55 million. The film made $51.53 million on rentals, and remained on the DVD top 50 charts for 17 consecutive weeks.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 56% approval rating from 162 critics, with an average rating of 5.9/10. The site's consensus reads: "Despite strong performances from Bruce Willis and Mos Def, 16 Blocks barely rises above being a shopworn entry in the buddy-action genre." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 63 out of 100, based on 34 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Michael Atkinson of The Village Voice commented that "the clichés come thick on the ground" and called it "a small movie trying to seem epic, or a bloated monster trying to seem lean." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film two-and-a-half out of four stars and called Willis and Mos Def "a terrific team," concluding that "Until Richard Wenk's script drives the characters into a brick wall of pukey sentiment, it's a wild ride." Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert gave it three out of four stars and commended Mos Def for his "character performance that's completely unexpected in an action movie," while calling the film "a chase picture conducted at a velocity that is just about right for a middle-age alcoholic." Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe described the film as admirably old fashioned, praising Donner for his direction, but criticized the film for lacking originality, saying it feels like a remake of The Gauntlet directed by Clint Eastwood.
In May 2013, Original Entertainment confirmed to have sealed a five-picture deal with Millennium Films to produce Bollywood remakes of Rambo, The Expendables, 16 Blocks, 88 Minutes, and Brooklyn's Finest, with the productions for Rambo and The Expendables expected to start at the end of that year.
- "16 Blocks (2006)". Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
- Brandon Gray (March 6, 2006). "'16 Blocks' Gets Clocked by 'Madea'". Box Office Mojo.
- "16 Blocks". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- "16 Blocks Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
- "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on February 6, 2018.
- Atkinson, Michael (February 21, 2006). "Aging Hollywood Hack Attempts Clumsy B Movie". The Village Voice. Village Voice Media. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
- Travers, Peter (March 7, 2006). "16 Blocks". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- Ebert, Roger (March 3, 2006). "16 Blocks". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- Wesley Morris (March 3, 2006). "16' blandly goes where films have gone before". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- McNary, Dave (May 15, 2013). "Original Ent. Plans Bollywood Remakes of 'Rambo,' 'Expendables' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved May 20, 2017.