Bruce Willis teams up with Mos Def to give us a tense, exciting, character-driven thriller.
He plays NY Police Detective Jack Mosley, a boozy cop who is tired of working all night guarding dead bodies at a crime scene. He goes back to his precinct to sign out from his shift with his shirt barely tucked in over his paunch, a day's worth of stubble and a hangover, then his boss asks him to do one last job for the day.
He reluctantly agrees to transport a smalltime crook, Eddie Bunker (Def) to a court 16 blocks away. It should have been an easy job, but it turns into a fight to keep both his charge and even himself alive.
Mosley makes an unscheduled stop at a liquor store and leaves Eddie handcuffed in the car, and that unwise decision puts into motion a number things that add up to some pretty good action scenes. Eddie is targeted to be killed by some assassins and attempting to protect him becomes Mosley's full-time job.
Director Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon films) allows Willis and Mos to have just the right amount of give and take (although Mos' character does most of the giving with his nonstop banter). The two men connect on a level that's deeper than you would expect in an action film.
It's great to see Willis playing something other than the buff hero we're used to. He's very believable as this flawed cop who until this day was interested in getting his next drink.
16 Blocks has a lot going for it, interesting characters, good writing, and plenty of action. It's a thriller that Willis can be proud of.