Thursday, November 21, 2019

21 Bridges

21 Bridges is an action film that thinks it's a drama. The film from director Brian Kirk stars Chadwick Boseman as tough cop with a heart of gold Andre Davis. Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan's script goes out of its way to tell us about Andre, including the opening funeral of his father years before (complete with narration talking more to the audience than the young boy who has lost his father) and 19 years later sticking up for himself to Internal Affairs. Davis is the latest in a long line of movie cops who get the job done, even if that means leaving a pile of bodies in his wake.

Our protagonist's latest case involves an odd robbery by two former soldiers (Stephan James and Taylor Kitsch), a stash house full of too much cocaine, and several dead cops (who we see the soldiers shoot out with early in the film). It doesn't take long for Davis to figure out something about the night's events just doesn't add up. Trapping the crooks in Manhattan, the city closes down the island (including all 21 bridges) as Davis hunts down the killers with the help of a narcotics officer (Sienna Miller) and a city full of trigger-happy cops.

When the film sticks with action things work fairly well. Sadly, Kirk isn't making an action film and so the movie drags through the more dramatic sequences and the mystery which raises as many questions about the logic of what is actually going on than the writers are prepared to answer. Not surprisingly, Boseman is the best thing about the film as everyone else comes off a bit cliche. Even J.K. Simmons as the police captain of the murdered cops feels like he's phoning it in a bit here. I was pleansantly surprised to see Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Alexander Siddig pop-up in a small role, but (like so many of the actors on screen) he's given almost nothing to do.

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