Title: 21 Bridges
Release Date: November 22nd, 2019
Studio: STX Films
Director: Brian Kirk
Release Format: Theatrical
21 Bridges is one adrenaline-filled rush of a film that has me wanting seconds and thirds of it like Thanksgiving came early.
21 Bridges focuses on Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman), an NYPD detective who only has hours to work on one of the biggest cases the city has seen. A group of cops are slaughtered and the killers are trying to escape the city by morning as police search for them dead or alive. In this case, the latter is not even an option for any officers.
Let me start this review by saying I apologize to whoever’s seat I kept kicking during the film. This film is two action-packed hours of intensity, which made me stomp their seat as if it owed me money. Every time someone raised a gun, it was almost certain one if not both parties are not leaving that scene alive. The film does a great job of consistently raising the stakes.
New York’s Finest
Everyone has some thick varying degrees of New York accents. They range from someone sounding like they’re chewing on gum to gargling with glue. Chadwick’s accent makes him sound like he’s doing an impression of Denzel drinking eggnog.
The movie develops all of its characters enough that you know what they’re about. While it never gets deep, you know who you’re following and why you care about them.
Chadwick Boseman is a no-nonsense detective that is considered a loose cannon by everyone. Yes, we’ve seen this before but Chadwick gives such a strong performance that is different from anything prior. The twitches in his facial expressions or cadence of words speak volumes to what’s going on in his mind. You understand Andre isn’t unhinged at all, but he’ll drop you in a second if threatened and sleep peacefully in bed that night.
The film’s best character arguably the second protagonist is Michael (Stephan James) who is one of the two killers on the run. 21 Bridges doesn’t try to justify his actions, but you’ll understand his motivations and become sympathetic towards him.
James is a great lead that makes you feel everything he is going through. His acting was so immersive, I had to check that I didn’t walk out the theatre with some cuts and bruises myself.
His partner in crime Ray (Taylor Kitsch), or John Wick lite as I like to call him, is the vehicle for the action scenes. The script never gets too deep with him beyond using to murder waves of nameless fodder. There are deeper layers to him, unfortunately, like many other things here, the movie doesn’t flesh it out.
I was conflicted as this is one of the few stories where I want both the bad and good guys to win, which is impossible here. There’s a plot twist that might be divisive for viewers as it becomes a different film to a jarring degree.
The sound design in 21 Bridges is fantastic. You hear and feel the impact of every car crash as the metal compacts, punch thrown, or a bullet piercing human flesh. Every gunshot that went off had me jumping.
The direction is pretty great here too as the cops close in on Ray and Michael, the locations become more claustrophobic. You feel the walls closing in on you, the police breathing down your neck as the duo barely evades them.
21 Bridges doesn’t shy away from the current public perception of police and how some of them operate. I heard someone say after it was unrealistic what the cops get away with, even though similar things happen in real life constantly.
The movie doesn’t get political nor does it delve deeper into some of the interesting topics that pop up throughout. The focus is the engaging cat and mouse game between the police and the fugitives.
Cross Any Bridge To See This
Verdict: 21 Bridges is an exciting flick that has some of the most well-shot and impactful action this year. There is some great dialogue throughout and actors that help elevate this film like Boseman and James.
The movie moves at a brisk pace, which doesn’t give much time to develop some characters and themes. The twist near the finale is a take it or leave it kind of situation. But, when it comes to everything else, I’ll take it all like “that cousin” with leftovers on Thanksgiving. Take whatever bridge you need to see this at the theatres because it’s worth it.
What’s your favorite action film of 2019? What’s the best on the run film to ever be released? What other roles would you like to see Boseman take? Leave your comments!
- Fantastically tense action
- Great leads
- Nice one-liners and dialogue
- Plot twist can either work for you or ruin the last third
- Fast pace, sometimes hinders any depth that comes along