21 Bridges (Dirty Cops and Troubled Robbers)
Chadwick Boseman is one of the hottest and best actors we have currently especially since Black Panther. So any movie he's in turns my head. He is still as charismatic as ever in 21 Bridges, and most of the cast delivers decent if not above average performances. Yet, this movie, while thrilling and with many good parts, doesn't understand its own character, is highly predictable, and takes itself way more seriously than it should. (Spoilers from here)
To start, this has a somewhat similar pacing as another chase movie: The Fugitive. The downside from there is that there really aren't any redeeming characters in this movie. While the movie wants us to believe in Chadwick Boseman's Andre Davis, they try to convince us that he has a catharsis of character without showing us how he got there. This is epitomized in two big scenes of the movie; the opening and the final confrontation with Michael. Andre goes from being the guy answering to IA about all the "justified" killings he's done to being called the only cop who is "talking first and shooting second". Unfortunately, I'm still left wondering how he got there.
The plot also wants us to sympathize with Michael and Ray, but gives us very little character from these two to justify it as there is no exposition here and they are shot in a very unendearing way. Then they both get cut down in rather short and curt ways to further the dirty cop plotline.
Finally, the major underlying plotline, which wasn't really dormant, the dirty drug smuggling cops. Of course, like many other plotlines here, the whole thing was rushed and unearned. They shoehorn in several characters without explanation, rush the few explanations that there were, and it all leads to an altogether unsatisfying and unnecessary final shootout.
The simple fact is, this movie was disjointed and lacked conviction due to its direction. It left me very disappointed that some of the redeeming qualities were wasted by an uninspired director.
That being said, there were several good parts to note. I love that more mid-budget films are using orchestral scores. The scores that are best are the ones that are their own character, and that was certainly the case here. Plus, there is nothing like that wood block click in a cop drama.
Furthermore, I will say it far and wide, but JK Simmons is one of our best living actors no matter the role. His final monologue is an oasis masterpiece delivered in the middle of so many drab deliveries (i.e. any Sienna Miller line).
Also, I would highlight that the action in her was still gripping and often intense. If you like just simple action without much need for plot, here's your movie.
So, in totality, an uninspired director and wholly predictable action movie with several good performances.
Verdict: Average and One Viewing was More Than Enough.