- Katherine McLaughlin
- 18 November 2019
Chadwick Boseman heads up an intermittently exciting but convoluted and cliched cop thriller
The Russo brothers, best known for directing two Captain America instalments and Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, have branched out into production with their outfit AGBO Films. They are reunited with Black Panther himself, Chadwick Boseman, for a crime thriller directed by Brian Kirk (who has a solid background in TV) and written by Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan. It's an action-packed blood bath that has a lot in common with a Peter Berg-style thriller as it follows an upright detective on his race-against-the-clock investigation of a couple of cop killers.
Boseman plays Andre Davis, introduced at a tender age as he attends his police officer father's funeral. Fast-forward to 19-years later and Andre is slamming his fist on a table and speaking in platitudes at a hearing where his gun use is up for debate. After a drug heist gone wrong, where multiple colleagues are killed in the line of duty, he locks down Manhattan and partners up with Sienna Miller's narcotics detective (occasionally dipping into a 'wicked-smart' Boston accent). The rest of the cast includes JK Simmons as a tough-as-nails NYPD captain, shouting about 'horseshit narratives', Keith David as a supportive police-chief mentor, and Stephan James and Taylor Kitsch as the criminals on the run.
To say that 21 Bridges is convoluted would be a gross understatement. In its attempt to combine various heist flicks and classics like Serpico and Infernal Affairs with 'big themes', it lacks the focus to maintain a gripping momentum. There is, however, something endearing in Boseman's characterisation as a black Batman-type avenging cop, with the vast aerial shots and grubby alleyways conjuring a gritty Gotham City vibe. The well-directed chase sequences mean it is intermittently exhilarating, while close attention to the aftermath of gun violence suggests hidden depths that nevertheless struggle to make much of an impact in a predictable, cliche-ridden screenplay.
General release from Fri 22 Nov.