News Archive... AKA The Old Blog

Saturday, March 04, 2006

'16 Blocks': Badelt works corner

I swear there is a payoff for fans of both Bruce Willis and director Richard Donner. And it is called 16 Blocks, Donner's first film since the cinematic debacle known as Timeline.

Donner is a talented filmmaker. His films are often loud and confusing, like life. He hasn't always hit one-hundred, but his highlights are shining examples of numerous genres. Action: Lethal Weapon, fantasy: Superman, comedy: Scrooged. Yes, Scrooged!

Thanks to foreign financing, Klaus Badelt landed the gig of scoring 16 Blocks, an at times tightly wound thriller that pits Willis' ambiguously good NYC cop versus his precinct buddies out to "quash" a witness set to testify about their corrupt operations.

16 Blocks deserves better then the stock stack of plickity crackles and pops that Badelt gives it. Foot chases are all scored precisely in the same manner: an incessant loop of percussion. There is no personality to this score. Even when the film takes a serious, dramatic turn, Badelt dials in his oppressive K-19 bombast and makes the whole thing devoid of heart and pathos.

You think a movie with tension, street chases, and a barrage of bullets fired would provide a diverse score. A tried-but-true blue-sy theme for Willis' drunken, beat-down detective. A bustling, Gershwin juiced action motif for the sprawling streets of summer-time New York. Well, we get none of those things. Instead, 16 Blocks is seemingly scored by that fantastic new plug-in called "Hit the percussion button, open a bottle of wine, see you at the final mix".