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Hello and welcome to the movie blog of author John DeFrank - FilmZ and Guy Sobriquet Malone - Researcher

21 Bridges


21 Bridges -- A Review by Guy S. Malone, Researcher

For Don Swedanya's last hurrah before leaving to winter in the Crimea, FilmZ magnanimously allowed Don, one of the two OS (Original Serfs), to pick the film.  One could be forgiven if he or she mistook a movie starring Chadwick Boseman, J.K.Simmons in support, and the Russo brothers producing to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  But no, 21 Bridges is a police procedural, efficiently directed by Brian Kirk, that will entertain fans of the genre on a cold winter night's streaming.  Think of it as a 21st century, less fascist Dirty Harry with racial overtones.

Detective Andre Davis (Boseman) is the son of a slain NYPD cop who has developed a reputation of shooting before enough questions have been asked.  He is called in on a case that demands a quick and decisive conclusion.  Two highly armed and trained ex-military men,  Ray (Taylor Kitsch), who is White, and  Michael (Stephan James), a younger Black man whose deceased brother was Ray's friend, on a tip break into a restaurant to steal 30 kilos of cocaine. Shortly after they arrive, they find a treasure trove of the stuff, and several cars full of police to confront them.  Ray is having none of it, and he opens fire, horrifying Michael as he murders all but one cop, and even she is near death.  Davis arrives on the scene to find Capt. McKenna (J.K. Simmons) wanting him to find the cop-killers and take them out.  McKenna assigns narcotics cop Frankie Burns (Sienna Miller) to assist Davis.  The FBI is pushing to take over the investigation, but Davis bargains for time.  His idea is to close off every bridge and tunnel out of Manhattan and get every available cop onto the streets.

But a police procedural wouldn't be a police procedural without crosses and double-crosses, which the two robbers figure out, and the answers are to be found on thumb drives that fall into their hands.  The body count continues to rise, the clock ticks, the FBI agents are itching to take over.  As Davis starts to figure things out, too, he realizes he has to keep either Ray or Michael alive to get the answers he needs even while every cop in the city wants them dead.

Screenwriters Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan serve up a fast-paced, intense action tale that keeps us engaged, though twisty as it is, it telegraphs its punches.  The dialogue is a bit too John Wayne--that is, macho.  Still, we are led to understand Ray and Michael, even as we detest their actions.  Kirk coaxes excellent performances from a very cool cast, particularly Sienna Miller (whom we are not a fan of personally because of her disparaging remarks about Pittsburgh), but she is an absolute chameleon here.  Yes, the premise is far-fetched and predictable, but it moves at a good pace and it's fun.
7.5 out of 10

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