16 Blocks Richard Donner

This is an old school, fast paced action yarn that delivers the frequently promised but seldom delivered "non-stop thrills.” Bruce Willis is at his best as an aging (the grey moustache adds years), dirty cop who changes his ways to help a career criminal who intends to testify against a ring of corrupt cops. After an assassination attempt goes wrong, Willis protects the kid over the course of 12 intense hours from the entire NYPD. The city of New York provides much of the gritty atmosphere: sojourns through Chinatown, dirty apartment buildings and even a hostage situation on public transit are highlights. Mos Def affects a bizarre nasal tone, making him sound a little slow-witted; it may wear thin quickly for some. Still, the rapport between Def and Willis is commendable, making this one of the better two-hander action vehicles in some time. Bear in mind that every action movie convention comes into play, so if you’re tired of the same old, you probably won’t see much in this. But the conventions play out pitch-perfectly thanks to the skill of veteran director Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon) and the talented two leads. Similarly, there are a lot of unlikely twists and turns, but with this kind of comic book tale, it’s par for the course. (Warner)