16 Blocks (Warner Bros., 3.3) is a predictably gritty urban thriller that doesn’t screw up too badly. It’s Richard Donner‘s finest film in a long time, but that’s not saying a whole lot considering his direction of Timeline, Lethal Weapon 4, Conspiracy Theory, the piss-dreadful Assassins, the revoltingly glossy Maverick (which an attorney friend of mine called “a 75 million dollar Elvis Presley film”), the over-boiled Lethal Weapon 3, the manipulative Radio Flyer, and so on. Call it Donner’s best “street” film since Lethal Weapon, even though 16 Blocks walks and talks like a hack job from start to finish. It uses an idea that felt half-fresh 33 years ago in Sidney Lumet‘s Serpico — corrupt cops ready to kill in order to keep themselves from being prosecuted for taking bribes. Richard Wenk‘s script is pure formulaic horseshit about an aging, alcoholic, seen-better-days cop (Bruce Willis) reclaiming his honor by refusing to let a prisoner (Mos Def) be killed by his corrupt pals (led by former partner David Morse). Willis’s older-guy makeup and gut-first waddle-walk seem show-offy, Def’s mincing voice starts to really bother you after a while, the editing cheats all over the place (in the manner of the knocking-on-two-doors sequence at the end of The Silence of the Lambs), Glen MacPherson‘s photography is all long lenses and whip pans, and the whole thing is basically a wank. But it’s not hateful because it has a few half-decent jolts. If it shows up on a flight you’re on six months from now, you could do worse things with your time.