21 Bridges (2019) – Review, Summary (with Spoilers)

60.91% (1)

After being pushed back twice, is 21 Bridges worth the wait or something that should have been dumped in the dead of the 2020 winter? Read on to find out.


Directed By Brian Kirk
Written By Adam Mervis, Matthew Michael Carnahan
Date Released (Theatrical) 11/21/2019
Genre(s) Action, Adventure, Crime
Noted Cast
Andre Davis Chadwick Boseman
Michael Stephan James
Captain McKenna J.K. Simmons
Ray Taylor Kitsch
Adi Alexander Siddig
Frankie Sienna Miller
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Plot Summary/ Review

After the death of his father when he was 13, Andre Davis decided to follow his father’s footsteps and become a cop. But, unlike his father, his reputation isn’t pristine – Andre is known as the one who kills cop killers. Consider it him vicariously avenging his dad or making it so women and children like his mom and him don’t get knocks on their door hearing the worse news they ever could. Either way, when 7+ cops end up killed in a botched robbery, Andre is called on to handle the case and to use that reputation to get the job done.

Highlights

The Dynamic Between Boseman and James

While you have J.K. Simmons playing off of Boseman sometimes, it is Stephan James who gives him a run for his money. For whether we’re talking about their chase scenes or James’ character, Michael, trying to evade the cops, it is those two versus the world and, honestly, it is their cat and mouse game, as bullets fly, that keeps you engaged.

But I also have to add how interesting it was to see a man accused of being a cop killer, with this avenger (no pun intended) yet Andre doesn’t go for the kill on sight. To me, it seemed like he wanted to believe Michael’s innocence, perhaps not be another cop who executed a Black man. Not to say the film gets that deep, or touches on race much, but for a criminal to have a gun on you, even have a hostage situation at one time, yet you don’t shoot him on sight? It pushes the idea it wasn’t just because Andre wanted Michael brought in alive for trial but something far deeper than that.

How Brutal The Actions Scenes Are

This film earns its R rating. Fingers are blown off, there are headshots, and there is blood all over the place. Unfortunately, there isn’t much hand to hand combat, to give it a little extra oomph, but seeing the exit wound from a close-up shot will do more than enough for those who like their action movies a bit brutal.

On The Fence

After A Certain Point, It Becomes Highly Predictable

By halfway through the movie, you’re going to have a good idea of how this ends. Which doesn’t ruin the movie, since James and Boseman more than compensate, but it does take the wind out of the momentum the film has.

21 Bridges Overall

Met Expectations

Generally, when films get pushed back, you think it is less about a studio positioning a film for optimum box office and more about them having a dud on their hands and trying to make the blow to the studio as light as possible. For even if a film tanks, having it be the number one film that weekend at least softens things.

However, with 21 Bridges going against Frozen II and the Mr. Rogers movie, this is purely an alternative to family-friendly entertainment. Now, with that said, I’m someone who has long wondered how Chadwick Boseman could do when his name isn’t attached to an established figure in media. With Message From The King, preceding this, as his only non-Black Panther or historic figure movie, expectations were low. However, it seems all the training he has done for Marvel has come to good use, and even if he still has this stoic vibe, that is somewhere between being a badass and someone who isn’t the best at emoting, the film exceeds expectations.

Though you have to, as noted above, give Stephan James credit for, compared to everyone else, that was the only actor who really pushed and challenged Boseman in a scene.

Would Watch Again?

Like most films, this is a one and done. However, I will say, while something that doesn’t reach the numbers required to be recommended, it is something that, if someone asks you about the film, and they wanted to see it with you, you likely wouldn’t be against seeing twice. However, doing it on your own, just because? The film isn’t that good.

Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

21 Bridges is the first film, in a long time, to prove Chadwick Boseman isn’t dependent on an established figure or property but can stand on his own talent and name. Add in Stephan James making the perfect actor to play off of, and they craft quite an excellent dynamic. Granted, one in a film which becomes quite predictable after a certain point, but what new stories can really be told when you focus on a profession that has been overly exploited in film and television?

How Would You Rate This?

Negative Mixed Positive

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