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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.
Broken down, out of shape, with a bad leg and a serious drinking problem, Jack’s role on the force is simple -- clock in, clock out and stay out of trouble in between. He’s in no mood to deal with a punk who’s been in and out of jail for more than half his life. But beneath the punk in Eddie lies a man committed to turning his life around and constantly searching for “signs” that will lead him to a brighter future. Jack knows better, though -- people don’t change. In Eddie he sees only a pathetic rat who was offered a sweet deal... a rat he will be rid of soon enough.
When Jack shoves Eddie into the back of his car and pulls out into the morning New York city rush hour, he doesn’t notice the van looming behind them. His head throbbing, and Eddie’s flair for conversation only making it worse, Jack stops off at the local liquor store to pick up some breakfast. As Eddie waits inside the locked car, fuming at getting stuck with Jack as his escort, he’s suddenly faced with a much bigger problem -- a loaded gun pointed at his head. Jack emerges just in time to prevent Eddie’s execution, killing one assassin and narrowly escaping a second.
When Jack 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 quickie trip downtown turns into the nightmare of a lifetime: the criminals that want Eddie dead are actually cops.
There’s a history between Jack and Nugent -- a dark history that Jack has been desperately trying to forget. And as Nugent is quick to point out to his old friend, Eddie’s testimony threatens to bring them all down. Nugent offers to stage a mock hostage situation in which Eddie is killed and Jack does what he does best -- walk away.
But this time, Jack has been pushed too far and seizes his last opportunity to do the right thing. A split second before Nugent’s team can execute Eddie, Jack sets in motion a chain of events that will irrevocably impact all of their lives.
Battling against time and the corrupt cops gaining on their every move, Jack and Eddie fight their way to the courthouse block by gut-wrenching block. These are Jack’s streets, too -- and he won’t go quietly. In Eddie, he finds purpose, hope and the strength to do something he should have done six years ago. And Eddie begins to see that all of the “signs” he’s been following were meant to lead him to Jack.
It’s the story of how two men change -- and change each other -- during a tense 16 block struggle between life and death.
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