Film Review by: #BrianPenn
So I fell for the oldest trick in the film makers’ book. You know the one I'm talking about; get the editor to cram the best bits into a 90 second trailer and draw in some poor, unsuspecting punter; then leave them wondering what happened to the rest of the film. Yes, if you've seen the trailer you've almost certainly seen the film. 21 Bridges treads familiar territory and refuses to break out of a tried and trusted formula.
Bruised NYPD cop Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman) strives to honour the memory of his father, a police officer murdered in the line of duty. Davis has no reservations using a firearm to defend himself and keeps internal affairs busy.
Two small time crooks resolve to steal 30 kilos of cocaine from a restaurant. However, half of NYPD turn up and a bloodbath ensues. Michael (Stephan James) is the bad guy with a conscience; he agonises over the cops they killed. Accomplice Ray (Taylor Kitsch) is not nearly as sentimental and revels in a huge stash that could treble their money.
Captain McKenna (J.K. Simmons) assigns Davis to the case; a proven thief taker who will stop at nothing to catch a cop killer. Detective Frankie Burns (Sienna Miller) is paired with Davis; and a tetchy relationship begins in the finest traditions of NYPD. They decide to shut down Manhattan and in the words of Davis flood the island with blue.
Ten minutes into the film it becomes blatantly obvious where the story is heading. Bodies start dropping left, right and centre; to such an extent there should be a counter in the corner of the screen. Davis is knee deep in clichés and wonders who he can trust. Director Brian Kirk delivers the standard set pieces with aplomb; the obligatory car chase and stand-off on the New York subway are well done; Grand Central Station has never looked better and it’s difficult to make a mess of the Manhattan skyline at night. Despite the film's technical competence it lacks inspiration and real insight. This is an action thriller by numbers and does nothing to stand out from a hundred other films. Using a formula doesn't mean you always have to play safe; especially when the result is this predictable?