16 Blocks showcases director Richard Donner and star Bruce Willis at their best, lending their old-fashioned Hollywood talent to a popcorn-movie thriller that offers enough texture and emotion to help it stand out from the pack. Richard Wenk's script offers a familiar thriller premise (and one that owes a few of its plot points to The Gauntlet) but he gives it a fresh spin through rich characterizations and snappy dialogue. Better yet, he and Donner use its New York locale as a character in and of itself. However, the two elements that truly hold 16 Blocks together are its two lead performances; Willismanages to hit the right blend of movie-star machismo and world-weariness as the aging cop hero and Mos Def is a loquacious delight as the small-time con determined to change his way of thinking . David Morse also lends find support as Willis' steely, deeply hypocritical nemesis. The end result might be a little too pat for some viewers, but 16 Blocks offers fine escapist fare to any viewer who wants a good, old fashioned Hollywood thriller.
by Donald Guarisco review