If one were to ask which actor has played a cop (or a man of law enforcement) more than anyone else, it would be hard pressed to find anyone who could beat Bruce Willis.
From his ground breaking role as John McClaine in the Die Hard franchise onwards, Willis has continued to wear a badge and gun and often does so as a man who is oft times placed in a vulnerable position and/or is struggling with the sins of his past, only to come out on top in the end.
Such is the case with 16 Blocks. Willis stars as Detective Jack Mosley, an aging, out of shape alcoholic who doesn't want to make any waves. When pressed by his lieutenant to escort motor mouth prisoner Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) "a lousy 16 blocks" to court, Mosley reluctantly accepts.
But what neither of them know is that there has been a hit placed on Bunker by a group of corrupt cops led by Frank Nugent (David Morse) who want to kill him because his testimony will lead to their convictions.
Mosley must get Bunker to the court house by 10am before his testimony becomes void, while trying to protect him from the corrupt cops who are using their resources in the NYPD to hunt them down.
A good action movie directed by Richard Donner (whose work on the Lethal Weapon franchise makes him a veteran of the genre), 16 Blocks is also a movie about how the power of redemption can change the lives of two men who although very different, must create a bond while fulfilling the purpose in their lives.
Bruce Willis is solid as always in a role he has played numerous times, while Mos Def gives a very good, often funny, Ratzo Rizo-ish inspired performance. Outside of Will Smith and Mark Wahlberg, he may be the best rapper turned actor there is.
The last 30 min or so slows down a film that was at that point a rather tense action/thriller. A scene involving a bus hijacking could have been the perfect climax, yet it is undone by the film makers' insistence to try and add some depth to a movie that did not need any, with a vomit-inducing sappy ending a big letdown.
Never the less, 16 Blocks is a good watch thanks to the performances of Bruce Willis and Mos Def.