The title specifies the distance over which an NYPD detective must transport a garrulous witness from jail to courthouse in Lower Manhattan, weaving through a whole platoon of murderously corrupt cops; and the hour-and-a-half duration approximates the time limit allotted to get him there. Overextended even at that tidy length, essentially lazy, mediocre, and incredible, the film is nevertheless not devoid of humanity. Bruce Willis is in his Serious Actor mode (a mustache, a receding toupee, a bicycle tire around the middle) in the part of the burnt-out detective with a bum leg and a thirst for booze, bone-tired after pulling an all-nighter. And hip-hopper Mos Def, talking nonstop in a nasally drone as the petty-criminal witness, takes a bold backward step toward Stepin Fetchit. Veteran director Richard Donner, little more than a traffic cop himself, swallows his whistle and takes the time to notice, and to make something of it, whenever the bedraggled detective decides to get serious about his job. The first sign of that, when he makes a choice between his bottle of whisky and his gun, is your sign to get serious about the movie. David Morse, Jenna Stern. 2006.

Duncan Shepherd

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