Hip Hop exploded theaters March 3rd with the release of 16 Blocks starring Mos Def and Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. With both movies ranking in the top 10 for new releases hip hop fans should be pleased.
Mos Def has again proved himself as an actor and not a music artist trying to be an actor. Mos Def plays Eddie Bunker, a witness to a crime committed by a New York corrupt officer. He needs to make it to the court house to testify in front of the grand jury by 10:00am, which is only 16 blocks away, then he has another important place to be immediately following the court appearance. However, Bunker’s testimony would take down several corrupt officers and to avoid the possibility, these officers set out to kill him. Luckily for Bunker, he received the wrong transport cop at the right time.
Bruce Willis takes the role of Jack Mosley, a detective forced to take on the job of Eddie Bunker’s transport cop. Bruce Willis has been typecast over the years, but I don’t blame the casting directors given that he does the cop role such justice. Jack Mosley is a washed up, nothing to live for, alcoholic detective who can barely walk straight, but has been asked to be responsible for a key witness.
Mos Def and Bruce Willis were a match made to play their respective roles, but on the flip side Eddie Bunker and Jack Mosley could not have been more wrong for each other. Eddie Bunker has a mouth that never stops, an appointment he cannot miss and a new outlook on life. Jack Mosley is hung over, looking for his next drink and could care less if life ended. Even Bunker had his doubts evident from the constant “Jack, you ‘aint the man for this”, “I don’t think you right for this job” statements. However, after a series of tumultuous events Eddie Bunker comes out alive within enough time to make his appointment, while Jack Mosley reflects on his life and takes steps to make a change and right his wrongs.
16 Blocks, though predictable, displayed excellent craftwork by one of the real hip hop’s greats, Mos Def. We all know he is talented lyrically, but it is great to know that we can support him on the widescreen as well. Mos Def has played a number of roles, none of which are exactly the same. We are now given another view of his talent and versatility.