”21 BRIDGES” POLICE PROCEDURAL WORKS ON A TICKING CLOCK
A Film Review by Tim Riley
“21 BRIDGES” (Rated R) There are several good reasons to enjoy the ticking clock deadline imposed on a NYPD detective leading a citywide manhunt on the island of Manhattan for a pair of cop killers in a drug heist gone horribly wrong in “21 Bridges.”
The detective who devises the desperate but ingenious plan to close all avenues into and out of Manhattan is played by the charismatic Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed the legendary, iconic baseball player Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in “42.”
Boseman also depicted the story of Thurgood Marshall, as a crusading civil rights lawyer who would later become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, in “Marshall.” On top of that, who can forget his role as Black Panther in “Captain America: Civil War?”
As the fulcrum around whom the police activity is centered one fateful night, Boseman’s Andre Davis has had the DNA of a New York cop ever since his police officer father was killed by violent criminals when he was just a kid.
Andre’s reputation is such that he has, metaphorically speaking, several notches on his gun for taking out cop killers, which put him in the crosshairs of an Internal Affairs hearing. He could be a Dirty Harry if “21 Bridges” turns into a franchise.
While Chadwick Boseman’s compelling, earnest detective is probably the best feature in what in many ways is an exciting but still relatively standard police procedural, finely paced chase sequences and daring shootouts make for plenty of lively action.
The ill-fated night of the drug heist begins when two hapless, obtuse crooks, Michael (Stephan James) and Ray (Taylor Kitsch), break into a restaurant to steal 50 kilos of uncut cocaine stashed in the freezer.
Before they make a clean getaway, a slew of police officers from the 85th Precinct show up. A blazing shootout results in the death of all eight of the police officers and one civilian inside the restaurant.
NYPD Captain McKenna (J.K. Simmons) arrives at the crime scene and so does detective Andre Davis. Knowing of Andre’s reputation, McKenna’s interest is in nothing less than seeing that street justice, if necessary, be meted out before the night is over.