Box art for 16 Blocks

16 Blocks

action & adventure, drama

An aging cop is assigned the ordinary task of escorting a fast-talking witness from police custody to a courthouse. There are however forces at work trying to prevent them from making it.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
0 out of 5
5 out of 5

Alcoholic cop in action; not for younger kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that the film includes scenes of explicit violence, involving shooting, explosions, and fistfights, much of it in slow motion to emphasize blood spurting or faces grimacing and initiated by policemen trying to kill a witness to a corrupt cop's case. The protagonist is a severe alcoholic, so he spends much of the first third of the movie drinking, looking for a drink, or showing signs of needing a drink (shaking and coughing, with sickly pallor). Characters use the f-word a couple of times (one muffled), as well as other curse words (s-word, n-word).

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about alcoholism. How does the movie suggest that Jack's alcoholism is a symptom of his moral/emotional malaise? How does his briefly rendered relationship with his sister indicate his troubled past and onetime courage and outrage? How does the bonding between Jack and Eddie help both cop and the thief to overcome their sense of failure and corruption?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all 16 Blocks reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: In the end it's not the predictable action but the lack of chemistry and camaraderie that sinks 16 Blocks.

- Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune, Friday, March 3, 2006

Fresh: Its dialogue is sassy, its plotting is taut (maybe too taut, as key segues are AWOL), but 16 Blocks has more on the brain than mere distraction. It aims to save souls.

- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, Friday, March 3, 2006

Fresh: 16 Blocks is a police procedural in the change-your-life spirit of Oprah. And I say this with the deepest respect for both genres.

- Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer, Friday, March 3, 2006

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Everything about this oozed with mediocracy. And while Bruce Willis gave the impression of playing a toned down and tired version of John McClane, Mos Def sure took the prize for one of the most annoying characters to ever hit the screen. His acting wasn't really bad or anything, he just talked in a way that was very hard on the ears. All in all it was an okay movie though, with enough action and gunfire to keep you somewhat awake.

- CloudStrife84, Sunday, June 22, 2008

3 stars

And I quote... Bruce Willis plays Jack Mosley, a tired drunk, in "16 Blocks." He's a detective who doesn't have the energy to be a cop... Mos Def plays Eddie Bunker, a motormouth who talks all the time, and I mean all the time, in a litany of complaints about his treatment, his life and his fate. Eddie has the kind of voice that makes fingernails on a blackboard sound like Kenny G... Jack's shift is over, and the last thing he needs is another job...but his boss assigns him to transport a witness (Bunker) 16 blocks to a grand jury hearing. The witness has to arrive in two hours, before the grand jury's term expires... The job looks like a piece of cake... put a guy in a car and drive 16 blocks...only thing is, Jack can't make the 16 blocks... He makes a pit stop at a liquor store. Coming out, he sees the wrong kind of guy making the wrong kinds of moves on the witness in the car, and he shoots the guy, which is admirable decision-making under the circumstances. He figures out someone wants the witness dead, and so he takes him to a friendly saloon and calls his superior officer. Not a wise decision. Frank Nugent (David Morse), his chief, is the linchpin of a ring of corruption and drug dealing within the department. He is one of the people who wants to prevent Eddie Bunker from testifying. Jack knows this. He's wise to the crooked cops because he's one of them himself. But there's something about Eddie Bunker, something about his innocence, something about his naive trust in Jack, something about the way he won't shut up, that somehow gets to Jack. Just when Eddie is about to be killed in the bar, Jack shoots a cop and saves Eddie's life. Now they are both on the same side of the law... That's the setup for "16 Blocks," which is a chase picture conducted at a velocity that is just about right for a middle-age alcoholic, it is more of a character study, a two-hander about how Jack has been fed up with the department for a long time, and Eddie's sweet, goofy nature tilts the balance... The bedrock of the plot is the dogged determination of the Bruce Willis character. Jack may be middle-aged, he may be tired, he may be balding, he may be a drunk, but if he's played by Bruce Willis you don't want to bet against him. He gets that look in his eye that says: It's going to be a pain in the ass for me to do this, but I couldn't live with myself if I didn't. I always I believe that more easily than the look that merely says: I will prevail because this is an action picture and I play the hero...

- Showrogan, Monday, June 16, 2008

3 stars

This action thriller starts out from a rather interesting premise, a cop having to take a witness through town against his own colleagues, but doesn't quite make as much from it as it could. The acting is fine and everything is well put together, there were no newbies working on this after all, and the movie is always entertaining, a few times even exciting. But somehow I just expected a little...more, and I fear this could be one of the movies you forget already the day after.

- ironclad1609, Monday, April 7, 2008