Thriller PG-13 Running time: 1:42
IMDB rating: 6.6 Aspect: Wide; Languages: English, French; Subtitles: English, French, Spanish; Audio: DD 5.1
Fully recovering from the wretched flop Timeline, director Richard Donner brings seasoned skill to 16 Blocks, a satisfying thriller boosted by intelligent plotting and the stellar pairing of Bruce Willis and Mos Def in quirky, well-written roles. Making the most of minimal dialogue, Willis plays Jack Mosley, a boozy, disillusioned New York City detective who reluctantly accepts an assignment to transport squeaky-voiced chatterbox Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) to a grand jury hearing where he's scheduled to testify against a group of corrupt, drug-dealing cops. They've got two hours to travel 16 blocks, but the dirtiest cop (David Morse) is determined to kill Eddie before he can testify; what he doesn't know is that Jack (who is also under investigation) has had a crisis of conscience, and he senses something in Eddie's seemingly innocent, optimistic demeanor that he wants to protect. Working from a tight, twisting screenplay by Richard Wenk, Donner turns familiar material into an efficient potboiler that delivers tense urban action (like Donner's earlier Mel Gibson hit Conspiracy Theory) while leaving plenty of room for Willis and especially Mos Def (in a critically acclaimed performance) to develop their flawed yet admirable characters. 16 Blocks may be a standard-issue thriller in many respects, but as a showcase for its appealing cast, it quickly rises above its generic limitations.