Movie review

Published:  12:38 AM, 12 January 2020

'21 Bridges'

Loud, violent and riveting old-school cop thriller

'21 Bridges'

Davin Arul

In 21 Bridges, the brassy, bassy cop thriller that counts MCU darlings the Russo Brothers among its executive producers, everything is loud and aggressive.

Helicopters roar into frame accompanied by Henry Jackman and Alex Belcher's ominous, relentless music score. Gunfire makes your eardrums throb as though small cannons are going off around you. Cars collide like Transformers doing a chest-bump. Conversations are punctuated with bold declarations and sometimes, bursts of violence.

Everything in this thriller - helmed with a sure hand by Brian Kirk, a TV veteran whose credits include episodes of Penny Dreadful and Game Of Thrones - seems calculated to achieve optimum in-your-face-ness.

That's optimum, not maximum, so as not to approach the heights (depths?) of overkill; and also to carry its paper-thin plot through 100 or so minutes of shoot-outs, chases and stand-offs.

The film revolves around driven, dedicated detective Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman), himself the son of a slain police officer, and now reputed as a (wholly justified, he insists) killer of cop killers.

So Davis is the obvious choice to be brought in when two well-trained gunmen massacre eight New York cops responding to a robbery.

Maybe too obvious, as even his instinctive drive to see justice done - leaning more towards the frontier variety than the Lady with the scales - cannot blind him to some discrepancies in the case.

Even the gunmen, well played by Taylor Kitsch (as the stone cold killer) and Stephan James (as the detail-oriented one), know that something is not right with what was pitched to them as a straightforward, low-yield cocaine heist.

Boseman establishes Davis as a hard-nosed badass pretty early on with just one Internal Affairs testimony (he is helped, also, by the intense stare of Christian Isaiah as his character's younger, grieving self in the film's opening sequence).

The writer is a film critic

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