Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Sienna Miller, J.K. Simmons, Stephan James
Director: Brian Kirk
I guess all is well in Wakanda for Boseman to make the jump to this generic, ridiculous action movie. Maybe this was a favor to the Russo brothers who produced this movie, but there’s no reason for a superstar like Boseman to be in a B-level action movie like 21 Bridges. You know, even guys like Simmons and James have no business being here and should be focusing their time on movies where they can showcase their talents. A typical, boring, STX movie, 21 Bridges is a quick in-and-out that nobody will remember or care about after 99 minutes.
The film follows Andre Davis (Boseman), an NYPD officer whose police officer father was killed by criminals and he has earned the reputation as “the cop who kills cop killers.” After a shootout leaves multiple officers dead, Andre shuts down Manhattan and goes on a manhunt to find these killers. While it seems pretty straightforward at first, Andre and the criminals discover more about their predicament and realize that things aren’t exactly as they appear. I don’t know how many people went into this movie thinking it was going to be inspired or interesting, but it becomes very easy to figure out exactly where this movie is going. This eliminates any element of suspense or tension as we’ve seen these themes played out and done much better in other movies. At a few moments there seems to be a potential for this movie to break the mold and do something interesting, but those moments quickly dissipate and the movie goes back to being a generic cops-and-robbers style movie. While the plot has little to be desired, at least Boseman is charismatic enough to prevent this movie from being one of the worst of the year. He hasn’t evolved into an A-list actor and face of the MCU for no reason and while this script gives him very little to work with, he does the most with what he’s given and manages to give a solid performance in a movie with very few. Simmons and James are way too talented to have their parts neutered the way they were in this movie and I hope they can bounce back in future movies. The Russo brothers clearly saw something in Kirk to produce his directorial debut, but I didn’t see anything here that warranted that endorsement. If Kirk wants to make generic action movies for the rest of career that’s fine by me, but the movie as a whole just felt pointless. STX has not been known for distributing the most original or interesting movies, so 21 Bridges fits right into their wheelhouse for a January release. In a month when Oscar contenders and major blockbuster releases come out, it just felt as though 21 Bridges had no reason to be released. This movie feels much more like a generic January or February release, and maybe if that was the case it would’ve performed better financially. I believe there is an audience for a movie like 21 Bridges, but ultimately this time it just didn’t work out.
Overall, 21 Bridges really isn’t a bad movie, but it just feels incredibly manufactured and soulless. There was way too much talent on and off screen to get this end result, so it shows there were some major problems somewhere along the way. Even from a marketing standpoint, when you have a huge name like Boseman in the leading role and you can’t make your budget back, it really shows that STX and the production companies fumbled this attempt at bringing 21 Bridges to as many audiences as possible.
Overall Score: 4/10