I missed the press screening of 21 Bridges and once it came out with negative reviews, I figured it wasn’t worth seeing. Yet as I sat down to watch one of the films sent to me from a studio, it wasn’t working properly. I had the mindset of seeing something, so I asked the wife if she wanted to head to the theatre to see this. I figured even if it did suck, it had J.K. Simmons and Chadwick Boseman. They’d at least make it not feel like I wasted my time.
I wasn’t prepared for a crooked cop drama that was so predictable and bland.
Not to be confused with 21 Grams or 21 Jump Street, this movie refers to the number of bridges that go out of Manhattan Island. And when seven cops are shot dead during a botched cocaine heist, this is what the feds order. But they only have until 5 a.m. to catch the guys. Who better to bring in then a cop (Boseman), who at the start of the movie is being grilled by Internal Affairs for having shot and killed eight people in nine years. So when he saunters on the scene, channelling his inner Denzel, other cops are quick to tell him, “You’re the cop that kills people. Good. Find these guys and kill them.”
Strangely, after the premise is set up — that every conceivable way to get out of Manhattan is blocked (tunnels, subways, water, etc.), that’s not even really a thing that factors in the action. The command center gets a ping from where a cell phone is used, cops find a burning car, and red light camera footage is used to track the suspects.
One of many idiotic things the movie does is trying to establish sympathy for one of the gunmen (Stephan James of Selma and If Beale Street Could Talk). He pleads with his partner (Taylor Kitsch who, after John Carter and Battleship, should be running around in a panic) to not kill a cop that is down, since it’s not necessary. And we’ve seen from the trailers of this, that there’s a showdown with him and Chadwick in the subway at the end where the man claims, “The cops all shoot first and ask questions later. You’re the only one that hasn’t shot at me yet.”
So yeah, the bad guy ends up with some thumb drives that show the NYPD has some dirty cops working for drug dealers. And if you’re over the age of 12, it’s not hard to figure out which officers those are.
After a great scene that was well written, in which the thieves try to sell the 50 kilos of uncut coke to a drug dealer…we get one of many cringe worthy scenes. This one involves a guy that runs a bank out of his apartment, and wears a silk smoking jacket, and reminds me of the weird character in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, who also had safes in his walls, and supplied Philip Seymour Hoffman with his fixes.
Another thing that’s hard to figure out is, if the city has been “shut down” — why are these two guys constantly running from building to building, carrying duffel bags of cash and huge guns, as we see cop cars drive by around the corner? Wouldn’t the best bet be to just hunker down somewhere and wait for it all to blow over?
It was a nice surprise to see Sienna Miller, who deserves an Oscar nomination for American Woman, play a gritty cop. She and J.K. are fun to watch, but the movie is such cliched garbage, you’re just wasting your time. Fortunately, it’s only an hour and a half.
The best thing about the movie was during a quiet scene, since my wife and I were literally the only two in the theatre, she yelled out Bosewick’s line from Black Panther, changing it to, “85th Precinct forever!”
It gets 1 star out of 5, for having some nice shots of New York buildings at night, and the fun of getting to hear J.K. bitch about the mayor shi**ing on them, adding “He eats pizza with a fork!”