While lean in look and structure, 16 BLOCKS is weighed down by improbable plot turns and poor choices along the way. Because Eddie charms little girls under duress and speaks eloquently about birthday celebrations, his targeting by the bad men becomes strangely vindicating: their desire to hurt him makes Eddie "good," within the film's reductive moral set-up. Though Jack doesn't precisely trust Eddie, he knows too much about the wannabe killers, mainly because one is his longtime partner, Frank. Apparently, Frank has at his disposal every cop in New York, for soon they're all out trying to kill Eddie and Jack before they reach the courthouse. The fact that this passes for plot and not a joke is testament to the general sense of malaise and distrust that afflicts today's moviegoers: Everyone's a cynic, from characters to consumers.
Eddie views his situation pragmatically, and must learn to trust Jack (because, as he rightly points out, "Ever since I been with you, people been tryin' to shoot me"). For his part, Jack takes stock of himself, stops drinking, and starts crafting a strategy, moment by moment, to keep his man alive and get him to the courthouse. This strategy involves frequent plot holes and conveniences, patched together with action sequences and banter scenes. While the formula might have seemed clever(er) back in Donner's Lethal Weapon's heyday, now it's creaky. Eddie and Jack argue about whether "people can change," with Eddie insisting they can and surly Jack, no surprise, thinking otherwise. While Eddie is most certainly in need of saving by Jack, he also gets to save Jack. It's what buddies do.