By: John M Jerva
REVIEW: 21 BRIDGES
STARRING: Chadwick Boseman, Sienna Miller, J.K. Simmons, Taylor Kitsch, Stephan James, and Keith David
DIRECTED BY: Brian Kirk
Official Synopsis: Thrust into a citywide manhunt for a duo of cop killers, NYPD detective Andre Davis begins to uncover a massive conspiracy that links his fellow police officers to a criminal empire and must decide who he is hunting and who is actually hunting him. During the manhunt, Manhattan is completely locked down for the first time in its history – no exit or entry to the island including all 21 bridges.
THE REVIEW: I’ve wanted to see 21 Bridges since I first saw the trailer months back and was finally able to check it out on Digital last week as I heard good things about the film and the action set pieces. I must say that I was pleased with the outcome of the film and I felt that star Chadwick Boseman was superb in it and he reminded me of an Old West style law enforcement officer who lives in current times. Boseman, who is best known for playing Black Panther in the MCU, delivers a first rate performance with exceptional gravitas and excels in the film’s many thrilling and physical moments.
In terms of plot, the movie offers nothing new as it is a tried and true formula which puts Boseman’s Andre Davis against a duo of cop killers, played by Taylor Kitsch and Stephan James, forcing New York to shut down all of its bridges leading into and out of the famed city for the first time ever. Of course, as his investigation commences, he discovers a massive conspiracy amid his fellow officers forcing him to make some very hard choices along the way.
Boseman is a solid leading man and his no nonsense attitude in the flick is welcome and when we first meet him, we find that he is under investigaion for a shooting. It seems that Davis has discharged his weapon a lot over the years and this makes the politicians very nervous. Of course, all of the shootings were justified but it just goes to show you how difficult a job cops have while trying to protect the innocent and their cities.
My title of this review is a B action movie in slick A list packaging and that’s a sincere compliment. Watching the film, I recalled many other films with lesser budgets and cast and felt that the A list talent and the Russo Brothers, who produced the film, elevated a standard cop thriller and made it much more. After all, the supporting cast is elite with J.K. Simmons and Sienna Miller leading the way and I didn’t even recognize Miller at first as she completely immerses herself in the role.
The action in 21 Bridges is hardore and unrelenting with some very blistering shootouts that reach a fever pitch as the film moves on. The scenes don’t shy away from the violence and even though it’s never over the top, it certainly is realistic and is blunt. Boseman does a superb job in the action department and I also felt that Taylor Kitsch was in fine form as well as he portrayed a former soldier turned bad. Action fans will definitely get their share of mayhem here and with it, a film that will be watched on many of Saturday night.
The plot of police corruption is most relevant given today’s climate and I have to admit that I’m surprised with all the films like this that tackle the subject. It’s important to always remember that most of our male and female police officers are upstanding civil servants who lay their lives on the line everyday in a thankless job. Unfortunately, there are those that tarnish the badge and here even when you find out the reasoning behind it, you can’t help but sympathize a little with them. Make no excuse though, it’s not right by any stretch of the imagination and lives are destoyed as a result.
I also go a distinct 80’s throwback vibe with the film as well that made me remeber films like Serpico and The French Connection and the soundtrack even recalls those glorious days of yesteryear and it enhances the action and dramatic scenes even more.
At just under an hour and forty minutes in runtime, 21 Bridges is fast paced, tight and sweat inducing and as an audience you feel the what the characters are going through in terms of adrenaline, panic and fear.
All in all, 21 Bridges will never win awards for originality but it is essential viewing for the excellent cast and spectacular action and Boseman once again proves that he can be a leading man outside a Marvel movie. I have yet to see his Netflix film Message from the King but now after this one, I want to see it even more. The Russos have delivered an 80’s style cop thriller that is pumping with energy and tension and it is crackiling with brutal action from start to finish.
VERDICT: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
21 Bridges is now available on Digital and will be available on 4k, Blu-Ray and DVD on February 18th!