21 Bridges – Review

It is odd to hear Chadwick Boseman talk in his normal, American accent. I had become so used to hearing him with an African lilt in Black Panther and Message from the King (2018 & 2016 respectively) that I was half taken aback when he spoke in this movie.
Boseman plays Andre Davis, a celebrated New York city detective who is a tad trigger happy. He claims he shoots in self defense but his reputation still precedes him.
One night, in Brooklyn, two burglars kill seven cops and a bar manager when a robbery goes wrong. They don’t know if they’ve been set up or if they just have terrible luck but now Manhattan is closed down and everybody with a badge and a gun is shooting to kill. This time, though, Davis is asking questions before shooting.

I don’t know why this movie disappointed me as much as it did. In truth, it didn’t disappoint me that much as I knew virtually nothing of the plot other than that it involved multiple bridges, but it did let me down towards the end. It was enjoyable throughout and had enough action scenes to satisfy your average cinema-goer, but the beginning of this film was so intriguing and thought-provoking that it failed to deliver. At just over an hour and forty minutes it felt like it dragged and could have been finished about twenty minutes earlier.
The cast was almost too talented for this poor an offering. Boseman might not be the most gifted actor around but he is above this movie. So is J.K. Simmons and so too is Sienna Miller. Taylor Kitsch’s character was probably the best part of the beginning of this movie. However, he was removed far too early and when his character died, so too did most of the intrigue and the action.
Stephan James was brilliant as the young and confused Michael. The pair had great chemistry as frightened, confused but deadly killers.

Taylor Kitsch and Stephan James in 21 Bridges (2019)

The Russo brothers of Marvel Cinematic Universe fame were billed as producers for this movie. They definitely had control of the soundtrack choices as several scenes are completely overshadowed by loud, intrusive and epic scores. They add to the atmosphere, if the atmosphere they were going for is absolutely sh1tting your pants at loud sounds.
I can only guess that the production team were going for suspense. What they achieved was a mixture of confusion and fear that Thanos was about to reduce the number of bridges to an even twenty.

In saying all of that, I did enjoy the movie. The first hour or so was really good and just what an action movie should be. However, there was never any sense of danger. Detective Davis was always gonna come out on top, and Miller’s portrayal of the narc, Frankie Burns, was always a bit sketchy so there was no surprise she was a bad egg. Simmons’ reveal as the real villain of the piece and his embittered monologue about his reasons for partaking in illegal activities was so shoehorned in that I needed a new pair of socks! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, shoe puns!

All in all, a watchable movie that disappoints. The first hour is great but the last twenty minutes seemed like an afterthought. Everything is wrapped up neatly to the detriment of the plot.


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