Send a burnt-out detective and a motormouth con out into New York's mean streets, put a posse of corrupt cops on their trail and you have 16 Blocks, the latest buddy-movie action yarn from Lethal Weapon helmer Richard Donner. With Bruce Willis as the hard-drinking loner facing danger at every turn, there's some Die Hard in here as well - though whether you enjoy the resulting combo depends on your tolerance for Mos Def's aggravating turn as the mismatched duo's dimmer half.
Hungover, over-the-hill and nursing a gammy leg, the last thing Jack Mosley (Willis) needs is a babysitting gig escorting petty criminal Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) across town so he can testify before a grand jury. And his bad mood gets worse when he discovers his charge is a dirty rat whose testimony could put some of his colleagues in the clink.
"TENSE AND INTERMITTENTLY EXCITING"
But something stops Jack looking the other way when his former partner Frank Nugent (David Morse) turns up to silence Eddie for good. Now they're both on the run, hiding in basements, leaping across rooftops and dodging bullets in a race against time that climaxes in a stand-off on a packed commuter bus.
Fast-paced, tense and intermittently exciting, Donner's latest will keep genre fans engaged with its polished blend of tried and tested elements. Try as he might, though, he can't make Mos Def's whiny simpleton even halfway likeable, his endless gabble and Rain Man rambling making it all too easy to sympathise with Willis' world-weary hero.