’21 Bridges’ // Film Review: Chadwick Boseman Ain’t Enough for Save Forgettable Thriller

This might be weird to say, but 21 Bridges is the type of movie that’s perfect for dads to watch. I would just assume that most dads love watching crime dramas that are similar to either Law & Order or Blue Bloods, where we’re following along a case or something that will entertain to sit through without caring about how the story will unfold. 

What’s the Story: NYPD detective Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman) is on the manhunt to find two criminals, Michael Trujillo (Stephan James, If Beale Street Could Talk) and Ray Jackson (Taylor Kitsch), who killed eight police officers during a robbery that involved them stealing kilograms of cocaine. To take matters into his own hands, he orders everyone to close all 21 bridges of Manhattan to prevent them from escaping and uncovering the truth behind these killings.

Chadwick Boseman in 21 Bridges (2019)

Although the marketing led to believe Anthony and Joe Russo directed it, they only served as producers. Brian Kirk is to helm this, and he’s only known for being a television director, including three episodes of Game of Thrones and a couple episodes of Luther. Being that this is his first feature-length film, I don’t remember having any major expectations from this since the trailers didn’t look like anything spectacular for a thriller starring an actor like Boseman. But all I wanted from 21 Bridges was to be an entertaining watch, and while this wasn’t a terrible movie, not a lot about this was interesting to pay attention to after a while.

We have Boseman leading the charge as the detective we’re following throughout the night. A talented actor he is, he has been in better movies that utilize his skills to better use, but there has to be one person giving it their all, and I’m glad to say it’s him. If there’s any development given to his character, all we know is that his father died while on duty, and his mother lives with dementia. Only of those facts is never brought up again as the story continues. The only other actor trying is Stephan James and being able to bring the sort of range that we’ve already seen from him already. Everybody else from Kitsch, J. K. Simmons, Sienna Miller, and poor Keith David don’t have any special attached to their characters. 

The first half was getting somewhere where Andre is trying to put together the pieces and hunting the trail. Following afterward leads to the rest of the movie is a little boring and offers little excitement. While the action just relied on shootouts through the city, there was one good foot chase near the end that was captivating enough since it was the only action that kept was good enough to know what was going to happen next. As you’re watching, a part of me tried to figure out if I can find a better movie somewhere.

Taylor Kitsch and Stephan James in 21 Bridges (2019)

But as I sat through its short runtime of 99 minutes, the surprises that were thrown in here just came off as predictable and didn’t bring any excitement to the story that was written by Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan (Dark Waters). I’m a fan of movies that take place through the duration of one night. This tried to be something like Run All Night or The Taking of Pelham 123 without giving us a reason to care why we should if these two are caught. Also, was there a real reason to shut down the bridges when it felt almost forgotten about when the idea was brought up. 

With 21 Bridges, it wasn’t enthralling as one would expect. Boseman was fine with his role, but everything else is something we’ve already seen in these kinds of police procedural movies that’s generic and predictable. This is more suited as a cable watch if you’re bored and need to waste about ten minutes before doing anything important.

Grade: C

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