When a movie is called 21 Bridges and there’s only 30 seconds of drone footage about closing them, you’d think that there might’ve been a better title for it. Well that is perhaps beside the point but maybe that could be parallel for the whole thing as there’s quite a bit left on the table here. For a police thriller it’s not all that suspenseful and for a crime drama there’s not enough twists and turns.
The cast is fairly exciting on the page, featuring the likes of Chadwick Boseman (known for Black Panther) as Andre Davis, J.K. Simmons (from Spider-Man movies) as Captain McKenna, Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk) as Michael and Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) as Ray. All of them do a great job with what they’re given, the highlight being James who’s playing Michael as a good guy in a bad job really convincingly. The gun fights, which there are many, are shot and choreographed pretty well. Technically everything from directing to cinematography to dialogue is just enough above the network cop shows’ level but clearly not up to the level of cop thrillers of the past like Seven and The Departed.
21 Bridges has major pacing issues as the scenes noticeably drag for too long, the transitions are either extremely short or stalling for a bigger runtime and between dialogue there are awkward pauses where the actors don’t even seem to be reacting to anything. It almost makes you yell at the screen to move on multiple times. Much of the action is happening on the streets which unfortunately means in this case that the set designs are bland. There’s a bar that has nothing implicating that it is one, the lair of this rich, technological wizard is basically room with a gaming PC and there’s a butcher shop (?) from every comic book ever made. Everything about the film just needed more intrigue.
Smileys: Stephan James, Chadwick Boseman
Frowneys: Pacing, set design
Sorry to talk about the name again but hey, you could’ve at least had the big final scene at a bridge. Any one of the 21 of them.