A jaded cop leads a citywide manhunt for two cop
killers and uncovers a vast conspiracy in the process.
21 Bridges (2019)
Directed by Brian Kirk
Written by Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan
Starring Chadwick Boseman, Sienna Miller, J.K. Simmons,
Stephan James, Taylor Kitsch, Keith David, Alexander Siddig
21 Bridges isn't exactly breaking new ground, but with its impressive cast and action sequences, it's certainly not boring. It just feels way too familiar, like I've seen it on every cop show ever made. It starts out decent enough, with two guys robbing a drug dealer, killing a bunch of cops in the process, and going on the run. But one the conspiracy sets in, and every cop in the NYPD is in on it, things get messy and rushed. There's a brilliant cop movie hidden in here somewhere, but it's buried under cliched dialogue and an abrupt ending.
Boseman plays Detective Andre Davis, who has a tendency to shoot criminals he knows are guilty. When he's the lead on the cop killer case, he orders the island of Manhattan to be locked down by sealing off the twenty-one bridges that lead off the island, hence the title. The two killers, Ray (Kitsch) and Michael (James) are in over their heads and soon realize it, but the NYPD wants them dead. Andre realizes over the course of the film that something is up with the cops under Captain McKenna (Simmons), and that something is a devastating secret. Of course, once the secret is out, none of the other cops question Andre and the whole thing just sort of works itself out cleanly. That's where it lost me.
Realism is important in films like this, especially when they go out of their way to suck you in for most of the film's run. The performances are great, though the characters are pretty generic. Overall, it's not great, but it's a decent watch that could've been done better. I blame the writing. Not every cop movie should be half an episode of Law & Order mixed the ending of a Lethal Weapon flick.