Now, with 21 Bridges ,” the actor who’d shown such potential as Jackie Robinson (in 42”) and Thurgood Marshall (Marshall”) gets a chance to branch out, proving what someone of his caliber can do for an otherwise routine police thriller.
21 bridges guardian film review – Independence Cinema
After an hour or so of Andre Davis (played by Chadwick Boseman) chasing down cop killers Michael (Stephan James) and Ray (Taylor Kitsch), the ending of new movie 21 Bridges takes the action outside of that long night in a closed-off Manhattan and also reveals the true events that have caused the whole night to happen. In 21 BRIDGES, criminals Ray ( Taylor Kitsch ) and Michael ( Stephan James ) show up for a job: stealing 30 kilos of cocaine. But when they get there, they find 300 kilos instead. They’re also interrupted by a quartet of cops. Ray shoots eight police officers in all, and the pair escapes. Police detective Andre Davis ( Chadwick Boseman ), who has a history of shooting perpetrators, is called in to find the two cop killers. Paired with narcotics detective Frankie Burns ( Sienna Miller ), Andre orders the city of Manhattan closed off, giving him only four hours to find them. He and Frankie follow their noses and piece together the clues, but as they get closer, Andre learns that something isn’t quite right inside the police force.
Oh, remember that thing about the bridges being closed? The movie drops that idea almost immediately, after only a few glimpses of the shutdowns on TVs in bars and restaurants. We could give you 21 reasons not to see 21 Bridges — and not single one that’s worth the price of admission.
Sans mask and vibranium supersuit, Boseman still strikes as a heroic sort in 21 Bridges,” a complex one who views a criminal with kindness and empathy instead of anger. Boseman invigorates a bland action movie and, during a cinematic weekend where he has to share big-screen time with Anna and Elsa as well as Mister Rogers , proves as cool protecting New York as he does Wakanda.
In the aftermath, Davis solemnly drives off on one of New York’s bridges in the sunset, with the drives beside him in the cup holder. An expertly trained NYPD detective (Chadwick Boseman) puts all of New York City on lockdown in order for him and the authorities to defeat a duo of cop killers.
The ever-righteous profile maintained by Boseman’s detective gets to be a bit limiting after a while; if anything was going to have multiple dimensions in this film, it should have been him, but the script is instead built around the goal of providing maximum movement and hoped-for tension. It’s got the former but only sporadically achieves the latter.
With the two suspects believed to be in Manhattan, thanks to an image of them running a light from an overhead camera, Davis orders the most audacious dragnet in the history of dragnets: He shuts down Manhattan for the night, stopping all trains and ferries, shuttering the tunnels and, yes, closing all 21 bridges.
This robbery, a small-scale drug heist perpetrated by a hotheaded tough guy (Taylor Kitsch) and his more cautious partner (Stephan James), is shown from the criminals’ point of view, and 21 Bridges spends a fair amount of time cutting back and forth between their scrambling and the police, hot on their tail. The film’s title derives from an absurd scheme that resembles something out of a more heightened big-ticket action movie: Once Andre and a fellow detective (Sienna Miller) figure out that the suspects are in Manhattan, they decide to shut down all of the island’s entrances and exits until dawn (including all those bridges, plus all railroads and subways), to keep them from disappearing into one of the other boroughs. As they track their panicked quarry, Andre starts to suspect, correctly, that there’s something fishy going on, beyond cops killed over some cocaine.
21 Bridges stars Boseman as a disgraced NYPD detective. When his character is thrust into a citywide manhunt for a cop killer, he is given a chance at redemption. Additionally, Boseman’s writing and producing partner, Logan Coles, and, notably, Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo will serve as producers on the film. He is joined by a cast consisting of names like Sienna Miller, Taylor Kitsch and J.K. Simmons (who was recently MCU-christened in Spider-Man: Far From Home ).
Andre Davis lost his father at the age of 13. After that tragic day, he swore to himself that he would uphold the law, always pursuing truth and justice no matter the cost. Because that’s what his father had done as a police officer.
Boseman: Well, at first we – it was called “17 Bridges.” pause for laughter I’m serious. The name of the movie at first, when I got it, was “17 Bridges”. And we were about to shoot the speech, and they were like, ‘We’re not actually sure if it’s 17.’ I was like, ‘Well, how many is it? I’m gonna say this in about 20 minutes.’ So it turns out it’s 21.
Brian Kirk (Luther, Game of Thrones ) transitions from television to serve as a director on the film, working from a script written by Adam Mervis (The Philly Kid). Star Chadwick Boseman also serves as a producer, joined in that capacity by Mike Larocca, Gigi Pritzker and Logan Coles.
After a bank robbery gone wrong leaves eight New York Police Department cops dead, Detective Andre Davis (Boseman) takes sudden and drastic measures to catch the killers – namely, closing all the bridges and tunnels in and out of Manhattan. Approximately 23 square miles, Manhattan isn’t large by any means, but shutting down the entire island simply seems impractical. Sure, the crime takes place late at night, and there are scenes of mass police mobilization, but shutting down the epicenter of New York City isn’t likely, even with the greatest suspension of disbelief.
Eight dead cops – that’s what Davis finds when he arrives on the scene. The dead men’s commanding officer, Captain McKenna (J.K. Simmons, Klaus”), is desperate to find the culprits and pairs Davis with narcotics officer Frankie Burns (Sienna Miller, American Woman”). Davis makes the decision to shut down every bridge, tunnel and waterway that allows access onto and off of the island of Manhattan.
Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman, Avengers: Endgame”) is an NYPD detective struggling to live up to the law enforcement legacy of his deceased father. He’s also developed a bit of a reputation as a loose cannon, having been involved in numerous suspect shootings over the previous few years.
Action-thriller 21 Bridges stars Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman and has Avengers: Endgame directors the Russos as producers. Monsters and Men” struggled with determining a resolution, Black and Blue” pivoted to a humdrum action saga and now director Brian Kirk’s new film, 21 Bridges,” also struggles to find its voice in the conversation.
But if the movie’s central conceit — putting Manhattan on lockdown — is laughably implausible, Kirk (who has largely worked in television) nevertheless invests his movie with some genre muscle and noirish atmosphere. The whole film takes place at night, as Davis and the narcotics officer he’s paired with (Sienna Miller) hunt their shooters.
As an actor, Chadwick Boseman doesn’t really do small. His resumé is littered with the biopics of giants: 42 (Jackie Robinson), Get On Up (James Brown), Marshall (Thorogood Marshall). And of course the king cat of them all, Black Panther, across four films and counting in Marvel’s cinematic universe.
The movie did not waste time. With a run time of less than 2 hours, 21 Bridges was a well-paced thriller with a plot that unfolded quite effortlessly. However, it did not end in the way I expected — a final showdown between the two culprits, Ray and Michael (Taylor Kitsch and Stephan James, respectively), and the NYPD at the border of Manhattan. You’d think that’s what all this drama was leading up to, but no.
Boseman plays the just and moral Andre Davis, a detective who pursues truth even in the face of darkness; in that way his character is like T’Challa. Catching them, and the mystery of why the cops suddenly showed up leads the two cops to lead us into a very predictable — but mercifully short — and quite violent chase movie.
Most of the characters in 21 Bridges are similarly under-cooked, and their big dramatic moments only really land because of the actors involved – ranging from Oscar-winners (Simmons) to arguably under-appreciated talents (Miller and Kitsch), and up and comers who continue to show great promise (James). In addition to coaxing worthy performances from his cast, director Brian Kirk keeps the film moving at a brisk pace and is overall competent in the way he stages its shoot-outs and action scenes. Kirk has primarily directed for TV up to this point in his career, which explains why he relies a lot on aerial footage, time-dated establishing shots, and other sturdy, if rudimentary, techniques to make 21 Bridges feel more like a movie and less like a TV episode made on a bigger budget. As a whole, it’s stylistically generic, but otherwise passable.
Davis is on a search for the truth after two armed gunmen named Michael and Ray ( Taylor Kitsch , Stephan James ) kill seven NYPD officers while looking to score 300 kilos of cocaine. Up all night and low on time, with a swath of cops out for justice, Davis somehow has the authority to close the titular 21 bridges in and out of Manhattan to smoke out these cop killers and find out who is really behind this botched robbery turned massacre.
In Brief: The 21 bridges are supposed to take you off of New York City’s Manhattan Island. Instead they’re part of a plot that leads nowhere. In this sturdy thriller, Chadwick Boseman plays a Manhattan detective on the hunt for two squirrelly cop killers.
When I watched the action-packed thriller 21 Bridges, I expected to be kept on the edge of my seat, and I certainly was. This movie stressed me out, but in a good way. The film is about a disgraced NYPD detective who’s given a shot at redemption.
21 Bridges also derives some novelty, perhaps unearned, from the marketplace that surrounds it; mainstream crime pictures no longer feel as common as, say, biopics or superhero movies. Part of the challenge of making a contemporary police thriller is the increased awareness of systemic injustices and misconduct related to police forces, something 21 Bridges addresses in a sidelong, ginger sort of way. Andre’s unseen previous decade on the force (as well as his cop father’s death on the job) has earned him a reputation as a killer of cop-killers, mostly celebrated but regarded with some wariness. He’s placed in interviews with Internal Affairs to check up on his conduct (he righteously dismisses their concerns early in the film) on the same day he’s assigned to a high-profile case, a robbery-turned-bloodbath that results in more than half a dozen dead cops.
For those who discovered Chadwick Boseman in the role of Black Panther,” it’s about time the actor showed audiences what else he’s capable of. Sure, Boseman was back on the big screen a few months later in Avengers: Infinity War” — but Marvel obviously underestimated his potential, giving Boseman far too little to do, then snapping him away for most of the sequel. Now, with 21 Bridges ,” the actor who’d shown such potential as Jackie Robinson (in 42”) and Thurgood Marshall (Marshall”) gets a chance to branch out, proving what someone of his caliber can do for an otherwise routine police thriller.
A specialist, Detective Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman), is brought to the crime scene by an NYPD Captain (Simmons). Davis is the son of a gunned-down police officer, and he’s dedicated his life to justice and the NYPD. His colleagues call him a cop who kills cop killers.” His mission here is to track down the perps — and he shuts down the entire island of Manhattan (and its bridges) in the process.
Philadelphia residents will remember the minor fervor that swept through the city last fall when Chadwick Boseman, of “Black Panther” fame, was seen all over for weeks as he worked on his next film, “17 Bridges”, which is set in New York City.
Three words bring 21 Bridges” into focus. And no, they’re not twenty,” one” or bridges.” It’s when detective Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman) utters, Close the island.” Manhattan, that is. Suddenly this odd and messy cops-and- robbers tale snaps into place: It’s Escape from New York” by way of Three Days of the Condor,” with a Blue Lives Matter political bent. That’s not to say it’s in any way as good as either of those movies, but it shows us the beast we’re dealing with: a high-concept thriller with a ticking clock and a killer premise, though it doesn’t totally deliver on that promise.
I will say this: There was no way I could watch this movie about a cop chasing cop killers with the intention of killing them without considering the current political climate and the well-founded general distrust of police officers.
With those infrequent ordinary” parts (at least for him), Boseman has been able to own an archetype and create something really interesting. Look at 2014’s football dramedy “Draft Day” : He’s definitely a supporting player to Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner, but he steals the movie as Vontae Mack, a talented linebacker with a blue chip on his shoulder. The scene where he gets drafted is an indelible image of that film, with Boseman delivering a mix of shock, relief, catharsis and pure happiness in one speechless moment.
Much of this can be forgiven simply because Boseman invests so deeply in his one-dimensional character. Obsessed with uncovering the truth rather than simply gunning down these crooks, Andre is unbendingly virtuous, and as he often does, Boseman manages to make that quality inspiring rather than strident. The longer Andre pursues Michael and Ray, the more convinced he is that he has stumbled into something nefarious. Because Boseman is so arresting, we’re willing to follow along — even if just about every plot point and big reveal is telegraphed well in advance.
The screenplay, by Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan, value its dialogue, savoring the sniping and tough talk among cops and criminals without getting too ostentatious about it. Director Brian Kirk also knows when to pull back on the chatter; Andre’s first survey of the crime scene is dialogue-free, with the strong musical score by Henry Jackman and Alex Belcher driving the action, and Kirk’s foot-chase sequences have a bruising tactility. This is a well-crafted, exciting movie, sometimes more impressive for maintaining those qualities in the face of an utterly unsurprising story.
An embattled NYPD detective is thrust into a citywide manhunt for a pair of cop killers after uncovering a massive and unexpected conspiracy. But come on. Fine? When you’ve got Chadwick Boseman as your lead? And top-tier dudes like J.K. Simmons and Stephan James as supporting players? You have to do better than fine.
Now on the run, Ray and Michael coerce their liaison, Bush, to persuade their handler to give them a bigger cut in exchange for their identities changed for their escape. They are given more money and their fixer, Adi, gives them new identities and tells them to depart for Miami the next morning. Davis and Burns manage to identify Ray, Michael, and Bush in the resulting investigation. Bush is gunned down by Butchco and Dugan when they get there first. After catching Butchco planting his sidearm on Bush’s body and briefly scuffling with him, Davis feels more suspicious when a police force led by Lieutenant Kelly quickly manages to locate Adi’s apartment. Adi is mortally wounded by the policemen but manages to give Michael two flash drives before Michael and Ray escape.
21 Bridges was theatrically released in the United States on November 22, 2019 by STXfilms It received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed $48 million worldwide on a $33 million budget. When Andre Davis ( Chadwick Boseman ) was a small boy, his father, who was a police officer, died in the line of duty. Andre grows up to become an in-demand NYPD detective who specializes in taking down cop killers.
The suspense thriller 21 Bridges follows an embattled NYPD detective (Chadwick Boseman), who is thrust into a citywide manhunt for a pair of cop killers after uncovering a massive and unexpected conspiracy. As the night unfolds, lines become blurred on who he is pursuing, and who is in pursuit of him. When the search intensifies, extreme measures are taken to prevent the killers from escaping Manhattan as the authorities close all 21 bridges to prevent any entry or exit from the iconic island. Co-starring Sienna Miller, Stephan James, Keith David, Taylor Kitsch and J.K. Simmons.
21 Bridges” takes place across what should be 12 ever-tightening hours, with all of Manhattan Island bridges and tunnels blocked off so the manhunt, led by Andre, can wrap up in time for the morning rush. Miller’s narcotics detective character joins the hunt, at the orders of a tough-as-nails NYPD precinct captain played by J.K. Simmons.
You sense that some things are amiss here? So do the robbers played by Kitsch and James, who are a lot more sympathetically portrayed than most cop killers tend to be. Not that 21 Bridges” condones their actions. But once the bad guys find themselves in a safe house, with a cleaner” whose last instructions to the fellows is to take a couple of thumb drives with them on the way ahead of the other cops on their tail, the Something Rotten In Denmark theme takes definite hold. Piecing things together, Davis realizes that he’s got to keep at least one of these guys alive.
Sienna Miller, Stephan James, Keith David, and Taylor Kitsch also star in 21 Bridges, which is produced by Joe and Anthony Russo and written by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Adam Mervis. There might be some minor confusion, then, when a film called “21 Bridges,” which stars Boseman and is set in NYC, premieres this Friday.
That said, audiences might turn out simply to see Boseman, a much bigger name now thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe than he was while playing real-life figures such as Jackie Robinson (42) and James Brown (Get On Up). Opening November 22 in the UK and US (after a few delays), 21 Bridges is bravely scheduled opposite Disney’s Frozen II and the star-studded whodunit Knives Out. Action aficionados will be intrigued, although muted word of mouth could curtail grosses.