(US/China - 2019)
Directed by Brian Kirk. Written by Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan. Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Sienna Miller, J.K. Simmons, Taylor Kitsch, Stephan James, Keith David, Alexander Siddig, Louis Cancelmi, Morocco Omari, Chris Ghaffari, Victoria Cartagena, Gary Carr, Dale Pavinski, Jamie Neumann, Jennifer Onvie, Adriane Lenox. (R, 99 mins)
Sometimes you just need a good old fashioned, big-city cop thriller and to that end, 21 BRIDGES gets the job done, even if it seems more like a January or an April release than something coming out just before Thanksgiving and the holiday season. Chadwick Boseman made his name on biopics (as Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in GET ON UP, and Thurgood Marshall in MARSHALL) before blowing up in Marvel's phenomenally successful BLACK PANTHER and two subsequent AVENGERS movies (in addition to his T'Challa earlier appearing in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR). With 21 BRIDGES, Boseman gets to display some stoical, next-gen Denzel Washington gravitas as NYPD homicide detective Andre Davis, a by-the-book cop who's nonetheless painted as a trigger-happy loose cannon by Internal Affairs pencil-pushers since he's known as "the cop who kills cop-killers." All the instances were deemed justified, but Davis has a constant spotlight on him because of his family history: he was 13 when his dad, a beloved and highly decorated officer, was killed in the line of duty, and his superiors think he uses that traumatic event to appoint himself judge, jury, and executioner. But it's Davis who gets called in as the lead investigator after a midnight shootout in Brooklyn leaves eight cops dead following the heist of a massive uncut cocaine stash in the basement of a posh winery. The two perps are a pair of Afghanistan war vets, both lifelong troublemakers with mile-long rap sheets: short-fused maniac Ray Jackson (Taylor Kitsch) and his reluctant accomplice Michael Trujillo (Stephan James). It's Jackson who blew all the cops away while Michael unsuccessfully tried to contain the situation, and now it's 1:00 am and they're forced to unload all the coke they could grab (they were told 30 kilos and they found 300), launder the money, and get out of town.
insane stunt facing off against an overturning car in 1987's SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2). 21 BRIDGES isn't destined for anything other than constant rotation on cable until the end of time, and it doesn't have an original thought in its head, but it's the kind of diverting enough entertainment that sufficiently scratches that itch when you want some empty calorie cop movie junk food.