Saturday, March 24, 2007

16 blocks to the nearest plot point

I just tried to watch the film 16 Blocks. Normally this is exactly the kind of movie I like - a time limit and a destination and people shooting at you to stop you from getting there. A lost soul who used to be a hero must protect a loser who's trying to put his life back together. That's a script I could have written.

But not this script. The actors are trying so hard and they're so good. And there are some neat cinematographic moments. But the film is simply unwatchable. I turned it off a third of the way through and switched to True Romance.

I know exactly why the film is unwatchable. It's unbelievable. Every character - the dirty cops, the Bruce Willis reluctant hero guy, David "I'll make you think I'm a nice guy but I'm really a big old asshole" Morse - they all instinctively knew where everybody was all the time, but they still couldn't find anybody unless the plot needed it. Like, Mos Def decides to take the Subway. Bruce Willis finds him in the Subway. Then two random goons just happen to be in that very Subway car looking for him. Fortunately even though they were psychic enough to know he'd be on that Subway car at that moment, they weren't quick enough to get off the train when the protagonists did. Lucky break, there.

Then the goons called David "I talk really quietly so that I can earn your trust and betray you later" Morse from the Subway car because they have magic cell phones that work underground.

"They just missed him at the Canal Street Station," Morse says. He looks out the car window pensively. "Where is he?"

Ummm, just a guess but, somewhere near the Canal Street Station?

Plus, they knew where he was going. Why didn't they just station some guys around the courthouse and wait until he got there? They never addressed that, probably because they couldn't figure out an answer.

It's just silly. Lazy and silly. I couldn't keep watching it because it didn't make any sense. These people didn't have to earn anything; things just kept happening right when they needed to.

I'd rather watch Christian Slater shoot people. That I believe.


  1. Anonymous4:32 AM

    You've got this thing for watching bad rewrites instead of the originals. Actually, it's more fun to rent thge original before seeing the new version to pick up on the few improvements amongst the detritus in the new version. Go rent "Gauntlet" with Clint Eastwood circa 1977.

  2. Anonymous9:24 AM

    The "guys around the station" question is answered in the third act. While the flick does have its problems, a part of me fell for the Mos Def character, and it's one of my guilty pleasures. And the third act, or from the bus scene on(if I remember correctly) is what manages to salvage the film.

    I'm not saying it's a good film, just that there are a lot worse out there. But the initial foot chase and the gun fight in the building are long and tedious. I guess I'm just a sucker for happy endings.

  3. I let HBO decide what I'm going to watch, mostly.

    I caught some of that bus thing later when it came back on HBO, but by that time I just had no interest. And the way the music swelled at certain points I felt like the director was trying too hard to tug at heartstrings I just didn't have.

    So no, I didn't watch the whole movie, but I'm pretty patient. If you lose my attention that early then you haven't done your job as a film.

  4. I was pissed off when this film came out, because it was similar to my SOFT TARGET script....

    Which had been destroyed on its way to the screen (as CROOKED, Lions Gate, 2007). Same scenario... and I also saw THE GAUNTLET (and KILLER ELITE).

    - Bill

  5. Anonymous2:00 PM

    I could see the whole cake ending coming up Canal Street...


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