Saturday, 30 November 2019

Review: 21 Bridges

21 Bridges
Cert: 15 / 99 mins / Dir. Brian Kirk / Trailer

Lifting November's pace comes Brian Kirk’s 21 Bridges, the thriller marketed heavily as being ‘from’ the Russo Brothers, despite them being in producer roles, rather than writing or directing. More on the perceived differences between these some other time. No matter, it all goes toward bums-on-seats.

Chadwick Boseman plays Andre Davis, a methodically brilliant NYPD detective with a reputation for acting with his trigger finger at crucial times. When a late-night drug robbery goes wrong in Manhattan and the thieves are on the loose with a ridiculous amount of cocaine, Davis makes the call to close the titular 21 bridges on and off the island in a bid to cut off their escape routes*1.

And it’s solid. Although it’s not groundbreaking.. Much like Knives Out, 21 Bridges isn’t necessarily doing anything new, it’s just having enormous fun in an established toy box. This is a fairly standard narc-thriller lifted by JohnWickian levels of gunfire and screen-violence.

Boseman does well in a role that calls for action above words, and has a quietly effective screen chemistry with Sienna Miller as Detective Burns. Also notably punching above the screenplay’s weight is Stephan James as Michael, one of the hapless crooks. Other supporting players including JK Simmons and Taylor Kitsch are fine, but closer to ‘press-out’ in terms of characterisation. But ten years ago this would have starred Mark Wahlberg and Russel Crowe and been a hell of a lot worse, so let's be thankful for where we are now.

21 Bridges won't set the box office alight (not least because a lack of full distribution meant catching this on a foray into London), but it’s a tight and diverting movie with its roots in 70s cop-cinema. It’s a product of the cynical times we live in, healthy enough in small measures.

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Think Die Hard 3 but with more bite and less banter.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
Just about.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
Repeat viewings aren't really on the cards, so this is probably a streamer.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Let's not get carried away.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
That's possible.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: Chadwick Boseman is in this and he's been in all manner of MCU shenanigans with Sam 'Windu' Jackson, among others.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 It's worth noting that The Bose also gets the tunnels and ferry services closed as well, but I imaging 21 Bridges Plus Tunnels And Ferries isn't quite as snappy a title. [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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