Dear 16 Blocks,
When I met your protagonist, I had never seen anyone so tired …tired of crap; tired of the struggle; tired of life. Joyless didn’t cover the scope of him, not by a long shot. Used up and worn thin may start to paint the picture. Gotta love those cops that are long past retirement! Throw in a limp and too much booze and its hard to hate him.
So when you tell your tale its remarkable how innocuously it starts and how bad it turns. You’re not a good cop are you, Jack? No, but that’s okay in this case since there are far, far worse cops around him. Its funny how even at the bottom of the barrel he’s still got the stuff. The dead calm hand, the impeccable instincts and steel in his spine when most think it has long worn away.
For that’s what you are, in essence, isn’t it 16 Blocks? An ode to steel. A reminder about doing the right thing. A story about redemption. But it’s a hard road as it always seems to be. The cost is high and there is blood; some of your own as well.
A lot of this would sound pretty pedantic and trite if it weren’t for your main character’s moment to moment decision to not give up the kid under his protection to certain death. It’s an implacable decision that comes and goes with nary a twitch of his eye. It’s a choice of retribution not unlike legends such as William Munny or another familiar friend of yours, John McClane. One fateful shotgun blast and things really change.
Its crazy and of course it makes perfect sense. If he doesn’t draw a line in the sand now his soul will be irretrievably lost. The kid is lucky he decided to get scruples now. What follows is about as gritty a chase as NY will deliver. To your credit, 16 Blocks, you impart imperfect but completely accessible twists and turns to a story where the audience wants to learn all the sordid details, and do so with such steely nonchalance.
When your protagonist finally steps up to hammer that last nail in the corrupt coffin, it’s a hushed moment with disbelieving DA’s and a complicit cop taking aim at him. It’s the prefect moment to take care of business while hopefully keeping alive to do the right thing – a right thing that will lead to a perfect little slice of birthday cake.
It’s a funny thing, the power of a smile and the twinkle of hope being restored to an old codgers eye, even when life hangs in the balance. That’s what happens here, in you, and it’s deep and heartfelt and satisfying and precisely as it should be. What I also know at the end of this tale is that you will always have my admiration and I will always have your back at anytime, you just nod my way.
Always your back up and your friend,