This is not a remake of "The Gauntlet," though the theme is a familiar one. There are, in fact, several movies with similar plots; "3:10 to Yuma" and "Narrow Margin" come to mind. A reviewer emailed me that "Midnight Run" not only has a story like "16 Blocks" but Bruce Willis' character Jack Mosley has a name that is a composite of the movie names for two of the leading roles in "Midnight Run": Robert De Niro's Jack Walsh and Yaphet Kotto's FBI Agent Alonzo Mosely. This, of course, may be mere coincidence. Though the story may seem like déjà vu, the action is fast paced making this an exciting film to watch.
Anyone who doubts that Bruce Willis can act needs only watch his standout performance in "Pulp Fiction" to see what depth this actor can bring to a demanding role. The role of Jack Mosely may not be challenging to Willis, but he still gives it all he's got which is plenty. Playing the part of an over the hill New York cop with a game leg, nothing to live for, and a drinking problem seems easy for Willis to make it all believable.
The criminal, Eddie Bunker, Jack must deliver to testify within a certain time frame is played with gusto by hip-hop artist Mos Def. Eddie is the most verbose prisoner ever. He rattles on and on about anything that comes to mind, some of it funny, some of it trite. He also has a riddle that is not answered till near the end of the film.
A standout performance is delivered by David Morse as the leader of the dirty cops, Frank Nugent. Morse is in danger of becoming typecast as a dishonest lawman. I'm hopeful he will become more diversified in his roles since he is such a talented actor.
This is another winner from action director Richard Donner. If you like his other successful concoctions such as the "Lethal Weapon" flicks, "Superman," "Conspiracy Theory," and "The Omen," then you will certainly enjoy "16 Blocks."