After eight cops are found dead in Brooklyn, veteran NYPD detective Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman) is brought in to investigate. But when the suspects are tracked to Manhattan, Davis proposes a radical plan; close all the bridges and tunnels into Manhattan, trapping the suspects on the island. Now the cops are caught in a race against time to catch the killers and end the bloodshed.
'21 Bridges' is a fast-paced and highly kinetic action movie, in which a group of cops literally whizz around Manhattan searching for a pair of cop killers. As Sergeant Nicholas Angel from 'Hot Fuzz' would say: " I wouldn't argue that it wasn't a no-holds-barred, adrenaline fuelled thrill ride. But there is no way you can perpetuate that amount of carnage and mayhem and not incur a considerable amount of paperwork." In fact, that's a perfect way to describe the events in this movie. As an action movie it is a lot of fun, dialling up the excitement very early on with several exciting chases and shootouts, and not letting off until the very end. However, it is a little generic in terms of the story, not to mention predictable.
All of the actors bring real weight to their characters - this includes the villains - but you can't help thinking with a cast like this they could have done so much more. Keith David especially, despite being set up early on as a pretty important character, he ends up with not much more than a glorified cameo. Even Chadwick Boseman, whose character is portrayed to be this avenging angel of the NYPD, the guy you bring in on the really bad cases - his father was killed in the line of duty - isn't given much chance to explore his motivations.
The idea of sealing off the island of Manhattan as part of a manhunt is in itself interesting. With this cast it feels like '21 Bridges' should have been more than a generic action movie. Especially when the story has all the makings of an engrossing conspiracy thriller. Instead, it's like no effort was made to keep audiences guessing. The underlying plotline becomes pretty apparent almost immediately, and it's never really a mystery as to what is going on or who's involved. However, as an action movie, it is an easy, fun watch.
Although not exactly ground-breaking, '21 Bridges' is a high-octane chase through the streets of Manhattan. And even though I expected more from a movie with a cast like this, I was still entertained.
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