16 Blocks (12A)

Willis does what he does in such situations, although these days he keeps his shirt on: this is less Die Hard than Die Calm, With Middle-Aged Dignity. The film has two trump cards: the creepily baby-faced David Morse as an icy heavy, and Mos Def, who's turning out to be one of Hollywood's more watchable (or listenable) character players. His garrulous small-timer Eddie Bunker - presumably named after the ex-con turned crime writer - babbles away in a swampy version of Benicio Del Toro's drawl from The Usual Suspects, speaking not so much dialogue as free-form concrete poetry. The redemption subplot is teeth-grindingly heavy-handed, but the very predictability of 16 Blocks makes it oddly appealing, or at least reassuring: the action-movie equivalent of tinned rice pudding, which is not entirely a bad thing.

j.romney@independent.co.uk

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