“21 Bridges” stars Chadwick Boseman, Sienna Miller, Stephan James, Keith David, Taylor Kitsch, and J. K. Simmons. Released on November 22, 2019, the film has a NYPD detective hunting down a group of cop killers.
The film is directed by Brian Kirk, who is known for directing several episodes from television shows like “Game of Thrones” and “The Tudors”. If ice queens and heartwarming biopics aren’t your thing, then maybe you’re into something that’s a bit more gritty and thrilling. Luckily, this latest action thriller has got you covered. Chadwick Boseman is ditching his Black Panther suit for some police attire as he attempts to lure in audiences with his latest role outside of his Marvel Cinematic Universe appearances and his roles in specific biopics like “42” and “Marshall”. I’ve been keeping an eye on this film since it was announced for two reasons: Boseman and the Russo Brothers. While the Russos aren’t directing this film, they are involved as the producers, and based on the word of mouth so far, it helped attract audiences who loved their directorial efforts on some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, especially this year’s “Avengers: Endgame”. As for Boseman, he’s a talented actor, so of course I want to see him in action again. With that said, let’s see if they are able to make this action thriller highly enjoyable.
The film’s story involves a detective named Andre Davis (Boseman), who has a reputation for hunting down cop killers. He is assigned to track down two former war veterans turned criminals, Michael Trujillo (James) and Ray Jackson (Kitsch), both of which are responsible for killing the police officers during their heist. In order to track them down easily, Davis decided to have the entire island of Manhattan on lockdown by closing off every possible exit known to man. With the help of his partner, narcotics detective Frankie Burns (Miller), Davis is racing against the clock to bring the killers to justice. As expected, it’s a standard cop thriller that consists of several gunfights and a mystery involving the criminals themselves. There’s nothing too special about this film, although I wouldn’t say it’s as good as I thought it would be. While it delivers on the thrills, it somehow failed to make the plot and the characters as engaging as the action. Despite the cast delivering some decent performances, including Boseman, I just didn’t find some of the characters that interesting. The only two characters that interested me the most were Andre Davis and Michael Trujillo, one of the two killers that Davis is chasing. Davis is the type of character that I want the film to explore a bit more because of his internal struggles of living up to his father’s legacy while being labeled by the authorities as someone who kills people who murder cops. I also appreciated the fact that the film attempted to humanize Ray and Michael rather than portraying them as cliched antagonists. They’re basically criminals who got more than what they bargained for and try to fight their way out of the city, which added to the film’s intensity. As for the plot itself, this is a film that has specific details that you got to pay attention to even though it is pretty simple and to the point. It had some ideas that could work in its favor, including the twist at the third act, but again, there’s just not enough interest and energy in its characters to make me care about its story. To its credit, however, I wasn’t disappointed in how they handled the action scenes. These were the only parts in the film that had the right amount of intensity to make my heart race. They were nicely shot without the use of the shaky-cam maneuver, and the sound editing was suitable enough to make the audiences feel that they’re part of the action themselves.
Overall, “21 Bridges” has the right amount of action to entertain some thrill-seekers, but in terms of its plot, it lacked the dynamics needed to complete its task. The performances from the cast were decent and the action sequences were enjoyable, but its average story and some uninteresting characters prevented it from reaching “must-see” status. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible, either. It was fine the way it was. It’s not something that I would watch over and over again, and it’s definitely not something that is destined to win some big awards. It’s something that is just there to provide some entertainment for its audience, whether the plot is good or not, and based on what I saw, I’m okay with that.