The movie is about a New York City Police Officer Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis) who reluctantly accepts the duty to escort a witness, Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) 16 blocks from the City Jail to the Courthouse. Jack is a detective with considerable experience, dependent on alcohol, operates as a loner who is marking time for retirement and pension. Eddie is a chatterbox who tests Jack’s patience and questions his policing capability. New York’s finest, led by Frank Nugent (David Morse) attempted to prevent Jack from getting Eddie to the Courthouse before 10 am by any means necessary. Frank, Jack’s partner for twenty years, was eager to eliminate him as well as Eddie before Jack “got back his legs”, which is testament to the capability of Jack. I have chosen to discuss two of the ethical dilemmas that Jack Mosley experienced; his approach to them and an appropriate ethical theory for each.
In the Bar Scene Jack is about to allow Frank to take over responsibility for Eddie when he realizes that Eddie had become silent. He senses that something is wrong. Frank tells him that Eddie’s testimony will ruin the lives of many good cops so he has to die. Jack shoots a cop in the leg and they both escape.
Jack’s decision to do right over wrong was instinctive. The right for the safety of his witness saw Jack place himself between his colleagues and Eddie to achieve that safety. He could not have known the outcome because his colleagues also had choices and could have returned fire.
According to Kant, Jack’s act to do the right thing is a moral one. It is moral because there was no concern about the consequences of that action. The categorical imperative is applicable. Kant’s famous statement of this duty is "Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." If all Police Officers acted as Jack did then the world will be safer because his action was...