NYPD detective Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman) is sent to investigate the murder of several fellow police officers at a botched drug robbery, which at first seems straightforward enough but soon unravels a story of corruption and murder as Davis rushes to capture the two cop-killers (Taylor Kitsch and Stephan James) before the city of New York and its 21 bridges re-opens and they make good their escape.
For a movie that so heavily leans on its producer credits - Anthony and Joe Russo of 'Avengers: Endgame' - there's nothing remotely related to modern movies in '21 Bridges'. If anything, it seems to purely exist in its own universe where the most basic of tropes in cop movies are treated like some massive revelation that you've never before seen. Crooked cops involved in shady drug deals? But who'd have thunk it?!
Still, despite the painfully obvious twists in the story, '21 Bridges' has a tightness to it that speaks more to the competency of its director and the strength of its cast than it does the script's originality or ingenuity. Armagh man Brian Kirk, known for his works on television giants like 'Game of Thrones', 'Luther' and 'Boardwalk Empire', is able to keep the story moving at a pace and uses the city's architecture - not actually New York, but Philadelphia - to really drive home the operatic scale of the story.
Chadwick Boseman, meanwhile, channels a latter-day Denzel Washington with his intensity, all monologues and striding under police tapes to flashing lights, while Stephan James and Taylor Kitsch both give good performances as the hounded, out-of-their-depth criminals caught up in something bigger. Sienna Miller, however, gives an unconvincing turn as the narcotics detective paired with Boseman, while JK Simmons and Keith David - two excellent character actors - are painfully underutilised in the script.
All in all, '21 Bridges' is fine. It's well made, and it's diverting enough to stick with it to the end but it's by no means worthy of running out to the cinema for, unless you're already there and you need to kill time while 'Frozen 2' plays. In that case, have at it as it's perfect counter-programming.