Cop dramas have continued to storm the television cable channels for decades in an attempt to rope us into the exciting life of the public service department. Despite the numerous switches in uniform (e.g. numerous shows), these things continue to be very popular in both reruns and new episodes watched. In the world of movies though, well they seem to have left the big screen, with most not taking the chance to tell a story when episodes can do it so better. Today though, we have a movie that after several delays is finally coming out in hopes of making its name in the cinema world. Robbie K here to offer some quick thoughts as I review:
- Moves Quickly
- Detective Story
- Not Politically Infused
- Good Acting, on most accounts
- Action Scenes Are Pretty Decent
- Same Plot as A Recent Movie
- The Writing At Times
- Some Characters Are Wasted
- More Action Scenes
Cop dramas appeal, according to my friends, is that they are contained in episodes that are short run times and cookie cut episodes so you have not invested too much time. Fortunately, 21 Bridges is doing the same thing, leading to a quick pace and short run time to tell the story, avoid the fluff, and capture the crime component in a nice package. A detective story at the core, 21 Bridges focuses on the intelligence gathering and coordination to paint the visual picture of catching two cop killers in an impressive display of technology and intuition. This King T’Challa without the Marvel syndrome manhunt really works for those like me who enjoy the crime busting element more than the political components that come with these series, and I enjoyed not having politics shoved in my face. As my buddy also said, the movie is also realistic, adding that mortal edge to the movie to help once more drive the suspense, for one lucky shot or ambush is going to lead to a world of trouble for all parties. This even bleeds over to the action scenes, which are exciting when they show up and yet never venture too far into the Fiction realm where superpowers and super solider syndrome come into play. Finally, the acting ties it all together, every actor taking their role and bringing it to life in a realistic means. While everyone deserves a nod, it’s Boseman who is the star and heavy lifting as a believable cop, with a super smart skill of hunting down crime. It’s multi-layered at times, yet never out of control, as the action and intelligence combine to make things look even more impressive as he mixes well with his crew.
Yet the movie suffers from some major components for me in regards to the quality or originality of the movie, especially given the number of delays this movie had in release. In regards to the acting, I’d have liked to have seen more character involvement with some of the other culprits in this movie. This manhunt brings a lot of players in only to sort of drop them in the background within minutes of introduction. I’m of the mindset of using characters in a film to the fullest, but if this is a series set for sequels, this blow is not quite as bad for me. The writing at times is a little too simplistic and lazy for me, once more taking the realism factor a tad too far in making them swear at every chance they get. At times it fits, but this reviewer is all about finding ways to balance the cursing with, you know not too much cursing as it gets annoying, bloated, and for me comes off lazy. In addition, I had expected a lot more action given the trailers, but the realism factor sort of gets rid of the gunplay, and puts instead a more style of chasing, running, and hiding. Perhaps the opening sequence was a false lead, but I had hoped for more of those moments between elite agent and his prey. Yet, the biggest thing for me that is the biggest limitation is the predictability and staleness of the plot. Most originality is dead, I get it given the market, but this movie coming so close to Black and Blue, alongside sticking too close to other plots it makes the tale a little boring without some more theatrics. The predictability of the plot had me hoping for twists, but it just did not work despite the attempts at deception.
When it comes to crime drama, 21 Bridges is an old tale with a fresh coat of paint. It works well for those who are fans of the television crime show syndicate, with a fast-paced detective story where a central character will be your anchor to the familiar movements of the series. It’s very well contained in terms of realism, has a great cast to follow, and enough elements of the shows to please fans without getting lost in politics. Yet, the film fails in terms of originality, sharing too much with recent crime films, not utilizing other characters well, and the action scenes not being the most memorable to justify the predictable plot. Still, if you are looking for something to break up the rerun monotony of the crime TV shows, then check this one out and enjoy the fresh coat applied. Otherwise, hold out on this one for a watch at home movie on your favorite streaming or rental app.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0