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21 Bridges (Chadwick Boseman) - DVD Review

21 Bridges

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

CHADWICK Boseman’s action thriller 21 Bridges is the type of movie that barely gets made anymore, but which – back in the day – would have served as manner from heaven for the likes of Mel Gibson or Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Black Panther star plays NYPD detective Andre Davis, a maverick officer with a chequered past courtesy of a deceased former cop dad, and a reputation for shooting suspects.

When armed robbers Ray (Taylor Kitsch) and Michael (Stephan James) leave several police officers dead after an attempt to rob a restaurant goes wrong, Davis orders Manhattan to be put on lockdown (ie, close its bridges), so that he can have until 5am to hunt them down.

But while his preference is to capture them alive so that questions about the mysterious nature of the theft and its location can be answered, he has to contend with another senior officer (played by JK Simmons) issuing a shoot on sight order that suggests a cover-up is at play.

Co-produced by Joe and Anthony Russo and directed by Brian Kirk, of Game Of Thrones and Penny Dreadful fame, 21 Bridges boasts some suitably muscular action set pieces, a couple of decent plot twists and a number of committed performances from a uniformly excellent cast that boost the otherwise pretty standard scenario. At a little over 90 minutes, it doesn’t outstay its welcome.

Boseman is a suitably charismatic lead, adeptly juggling the action requirements with a sense of decency and an inner rage born from the sense of injustice he has carried as a child since the shooting of his dad. He brings complexity that, again, elevates proceedings.

But Sienna Miller is similarly effective as his partner, while Kitsch and James bring desperation and even sympathy to their roles as the hunted robbers, caught in a situation that is much bigger than they could ever have comprehended.

It’s in the third act that predictability begins to kick in and the limitations of the screenplay, by Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan, are exposed as the set-up demands a cleverer outcome than the film can ultimately deliver. Indeed, it’s slightly disappointing that certain possibilities that are dangled early on, never feel fully realised or exploited.

But as star vehicle action thrillers go, this is undemanding fare given extra emotional heft by the presence of such A-grade acting talent.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 1hr 39mins
UK Blu-ray/DVD Release: March 30, 2020