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

Decent thriller, Mos Def struggles as a mentally challenged witness. I would write more but I don't care and I need to take a dump.

- Chiefilms, Monday, January 18, 2010

4 stars

This is one of Bruce Willis' finest films yet. He plays a tired old cop who is handed the menial task of driving Mos Def, a criminal, who has to testify in court. Little does he know, he winds up running into very much trouble. Although one might think that this movie cannot be suspenseful because it takes place within the radius of 16 blocks, many twists and turns occur which make it very interesting. Mos Def also delivers an outstanding performance through the use of his accent and his hilarious anecdotes throughout the movie. He adds a lot of depth to his character and to the movie as a whole. Thus, the audience is able to sympathize with him. Overall, this movie was excellent and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a great fast paced thriller

- matertenebraum, Tuesday, January 6, 2009

4 stars

Jack Mosley: tape recording] "This is Detective Jack Mosley, Shield number 227. I guess this will be my last will and testament. This is for Diane. Now, they're gonna come talk to you and they're gonna tell you things. But what they tell you isn't really what happen. So Diane, I think you should know what really happened. I was trying to do a good thing." All he wanted to do was go home and get a drink. But at 8:02 a.m., hungover NYPD detective Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis) is assigned a seemingly simple task. Petty criminal Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) is set to testify before a grand jury at 10:00 a.m. and needs to be taken from lock-up to the courthouse, 16 blocks away. It should take Jack 15 minutes to drop him off at the courthouse and get home. But when assassins try to take Eddie out, Jack realizes there's more to this assignment than he'd anticipated and he calls for backup. Homicide detective Frank Nugent (David Morse) and his team are first to arrive at the scene. Eddie suddenly goes pale. One of the detectives on Nugent's team is the man he is supposed to testify against. In an instant, Jack's quick trip downtown turns into the nightmare of a lifetime: the criminals that want Eddie dead are actually cops. 16 Blocks is right up Richard Donner's alley, the helmer of the Lethal Weapon franchise so its no surprise that he nailed this film from the get-go. This time however, there's no buddy cops and psychopathic albino jack rabbits involved, its only a man and his prisoner against a hundred renegade NYPD cops. The man, Jack Mosely is portrayed by Bruce Willis, the everyman hero who is assigned a seemingly easy task that turns awry in a quick second, it is no doubt that Bruce has mastered the role of being a cop well with the success of the Die Hard saga and a couple of stand alone cop roles in some other films. The only thing that's different from his other cop roles is that he's not bald. Bald or not bald, he still kicks ass. The prisoner, Eddie Bunker is portrayed by Mos Def, a surprising turn from the rapper but effective nonetheless. The plot is an amazing thrill ride with the perfect combination of action and suspense and a couple of mild comedy here and there. It is a tense ride from start to finish and you will not be disappointed.

- LorenzoVonMatterhorn, Tuesday, October 28, 2008