<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>


Directed by Brian Kirk. Starring Chadwick Boseman, Sienna Miller, Stephen James, Taylor Kitsch, J.K. Simmons, Keith David

Running time: 1 hour 30 mins


You’ve seen this all before but 21 Bridges manages to serve this up with high thrills and effervescent pacing.

Chadwick Boseman is almost unrecognizable from his role in Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. He’s lean, weary and a lot less refined here. As Andre Davis, the cop whose cop-dad was killed when he was nine, he’s a trigger-happy detective who isn’t afraid to shoot bad guys, but only when they have it coming.


The film starts off with a pair of ‘bad guys’, Ray (Taylor Kitsch) and Michael (Stephen James), busting in to a restaurant in masks and with semi-automatics. At first you’re like ‘why are they robbing a restaurant in the middle of the night?’. Then you realise that it’s a front for a cocaine stash that turns out to be 100 times larger than they expected. And before they know it, the cops turn up knocking on the front door, which seems a tad odd. Minutes later, 50 kilos of coke disappear and eight cops lay dead all around. Captain McKenna (J.K. Simmons) of the 85thprecinct isn’t happy about his dead boys in blue and is happy with Detective Davis turns up. He’ll make sure the perps are dead before sunrise, no trial needed.

The said 21 Bridges of Manhattan are shut down – we realise it isn’t even necessary but the film needed a hook – and a pursuit ensues. Cops and bad guys face off in some dubious encounters, Davis and his ATF colleague Burns (Sienna Miller) focus on getting Ray and Michael. But soon, Davis realizes there’s more to the story than just a drug heist gone bad. You realised it before he did, but that doesn’t make the story less exciting.


Directed Brian Kirk has condensed the formula so finely, that you’re at the edge of your seat even though you pretty much know what’s coming up next. You’re also invested in the characters who are gritty and real. There’s plenty of violence here as well but not for the sake of it. It’s all matter of fact and just adds to the gruesome reality of drug wars in America.

21 Bridges is a fun ride that fills 99 minutes with action, thrills, a bit of mystery and lots of high drama. Good filmmaking is dishing out formula in a way that still makes it interesting and entertaining. And here’s a great example.

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