PG Score: 6.5/10
21 Bridges is a decent entry in the popular subgenre of hard-boiled cop dramas. It follows NYPD detective Andre Davis as he leads a citywide manhunt for two cop killers, but gradually uncovers a larger conspiracy at play. It’s painfully predictable, but still packs enough of a wallop to keep it entertaining. This is mostly thanks to hard-hitting, frequent, and punchy shootouts. The gritty gunplay is well choreographed and plentiful enough to drown out a number of the negatives present within the film. There is plenty of carnage to be had and the viewer is best served by focusing more on the action, and less on the plot. The other major highlight is Chadwick Boseman, who plays the protagonist. His onscreen presence is commanding, which suits the role well as a strong-willed, intense, and incredibly driven character. He takes over the movie from start to finish and really carries the load, so to speak. Many of the other characters, and performances for that matter, are underwhelming. Taylor Kitsch does an adequate job as one of the antagonists. Stephen James is responsible for arguably the best supporting performance as a more multilayered antagonist. His chemistry opposite to Boseman is impressive and their back and forth is responsible for some of the better dialogue. J.K. Simmons did a fine job as the police captain, but the character just isn’t all that interesting. His lines are stale and the archetype is all too familiar, leaving him with little to work with. Plot-wise, 21 Bridges is very predictable. All the “twists” are quite visible far too early on and we’ve seen most of them many times before. The movie doesn’t really try to do much of anything new in terms of writing or storyline. It’s way too comfortable treading in the footsteps of the many cop flicks before it and does little to hide that fact. As for the writing, it’s lackluster for the most part. Aside from a few intense interactions between Boseman and James, it’s dry. Thankfully, the frenetic action helps to stomach these weaker facets. While 21 Bridges is basic both story and writing-wise, the thrilling action and Chadwick Boseman’s performance help make this a more bearable ride-along.