MOVIE REVIEW: Trigger-happy cop tasked with saving NYC
A SOLID pulp crime thriller, 21 Bridges is set across a single night on the streets of New York City.
While it is a movie that can suddenly swerve from the serious to the silly - and then back again just as quickly - there is a certain something about the way it goes about its business that gets you in, and never quite lets you go.
Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) stars as Andre Davis, a hard line NYPD detective with an unfair rep for being a bit too trigger-happy on the job.
The film doesn't bother too much with whipping up a backstory for Andre. Losing his father (also a lifer in the NYPD) has taken some kind of toll along the line, as has providing around-the-clock care for his ailing mother.
As for love interests, hobbies or even the possibility of a joke to be cracked, it just isn't going to happen with this guy. He's all business, all the time, got it?
Andre's taciturn nature is doubly underlined in an early scene where he is hauled over the coals by Internal Affairs for his latest shooting in the line of duty. He never fires first, he says. What goes unsaid is that once he is fired at, well, all niceties are dispensed with.
Almost as soon as Davis is advised to stop with the pumping of lead into crooks, news comes in that two mysterious gunmen have started wasting cops left, right and centre.
The assailants (played by Taylor Kitsch and Stephan James) recently completed a drug heist that went a little too well for their liking. Their haul was supposed to be 30 keys of cocaine. Instead, they made off with ten times that amount, a quantity already attracting a level of heat they are just not equipped to handle.
As ex-combat soldiers who did tours in Afghanistan, their only instinctive response is to blast their way out of town and then out of the country ASAP.
So our hard-pressed hero Andre is given a single night to hunt down the perps and halt the carnage, courtesy of an unprecedented shutdown and seal-off by city authorities.
From 12 midnight until 5am, no-one gets in or out of Manhattan so that the crims will get their right whack. There is one plot twist in play that is far too obvious, and revealed way too early.
Therefore it is really down to Boseman's undeniable screen charisma to save the day while the night of mayhem continues.
He gets the job done, and the movie generates enough momentum to carry viewers towards the gritty (albeit gratuitously violent) finale they were hoping for.
21 BRIDGES (MA15+)
Stopping all traffic to start the chase
Director: Brian Kirk (Middletown)
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, J.K. Simmons, Sienna Miller, Taylor Kitsch, Stephan James.
Rating : ***