16 Blocks (2006)

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Released 18-Dec-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Alternative Version
Alternate Ending
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 97:26
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Donner
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Bruce Willis
Mos Def
David Morse
Jenna Stern
Casey Sander
Cylk Cozart
David Zayas
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Klaus Badelt


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Richard Donner is a long term producer and director of quality action films including genre classics like the Lethal Weapon series and Superman. In this recent film he has also managed to cast one of Hollywood's favourite action leading men, Bruce Willis, who plays Det Jack Mosely. So why doesn't that combination result in a good or even great action film? Well, that's a difficult question to answer but I think the majority of the problem lies in the simple and clichéd screenplay.

    The plot which plays out in real time (Cliché #1) involves an alcoholic and broken down (Cliché #2) old police detective (Bruce Willis)  who has just finished a night shift and gets told by his boss to do one last job before going home (Cliché #3). The job is transport a minor league criminal (Mos Def) from a holding cell uptown to a downtown court room where he is scheduled to give evidence. The distance of this journey is the titular 16 Blocks. The minor league criminal begins to grate on the old police detective immediately. As they progress on their journey it quickly becomes apparent that the criminal is giving evidence in a police corruption trial and the corrupt cops are out to kill him (Cliché #4). If this isn't enough clichés for you then the big one at the end will knock your socks off. I can't believe that another film would use the old (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) 'hidden tape recorder to capture confession' cliché, which has been used some many times it is trying to claim frequent flyer points off the studios.

    On the plus side the film does include some good action sequences and develops some tension, especially during the first half. Another negative however is the Mos Def character, Eddie, who seems to be some sort of naive angel sent to help Bruce Willis. The problem is that he is really annoying and you keep wishing that the leader of the corrupt cops, Det Frank Nugent (David Morse) would just shoot him and help us all out.

    On balance, this is certainly not the worst action film I have seen but it has such a flimsy premise and is so full of old clichés that it becomes frustrating.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good with no major issues to report.

    The feature is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio or very close to it.

    The picture was reasonably sharp and clear but there was certainly some softness on backgrounds in some sequences. There was no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was very good.

    The colour was very good with no issues to report.

    There were no noticeable artefacts.

    There are subtitles in English and English for the hearing impaired. They are well positioned to make use of the black bar outside of the 2.40:1 framing of the film, although when two lines of subtitles are present at the same time they do impact the picture. They are clear easy to read and virtually exact to the spoken word.

    There is no layer change during the main feature.

    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is excellent.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 stereo soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync. Mos Def's strange accent does cause some difficulty with understanding his dialogue at times. This would be an issue with the original material rather than the transfer.

    The score of this film by Klaus Badelt does a good job of building and maintaining tension despite the skimpy plot.

    The surround speakers were used constantly for lots of atmosphere and significant surround effects especially gunfights and traffic and bus crash noises.

    The subwoofer was also used a lot to add tension, bass to the music and depth to scenes like the bus crash.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

   Menu

    The menu was silent and still but did include some well thought out motifs as cursors such as the crosshairs on the scene selection menu.

Play with Alternate Ending (96:33)

    There is an option to play the film with a different ending using seamless branching. This ending is much less clichéd but also much less believable especially in terms of Det Nugent's motivations.

Alternate Ending (4:59)

    The same alternate ending which is available by seamless branching is also available separately.

Interviews (17:21)

    Presented 4x3 these are standard promotional interview snippets with Bruce Willis, David Morse, Richard Donner and other cast and crew. Don't expect any great insights.

Trailers

    Man About Town, The Big White, The Covenant.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 4 version (when compared to Region 1) misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    The best version however appears to be the Region 3 Hong Kong release which includes DTS ES audio, Dolby Digital EX audio plus the same extras as the US release.

Summary

    A very clichéd but competently made action film.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is excellent but better version are available internationally.

    The extras include an interesting alternate ending but little else of value.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, March 12, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Is there a sidekick who is more annoying than Chris Tucker ? - YES! - Gavin Bollard (bio - updated 9 Nov 2005) REPLY POSTED