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21 Bridges

Opening Date
21 Nov 2019
NC16 Coarse Language and Violence
103 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Brian Kirk
Chadwick Boseman, J. K. Simmons, Sienna Miller, Taylor Kitsch, Stephan James
21 Bridges follows an embattled NYPD detective (Chadwick Boseman), who is thrust into a citywide manhunt for a pair of cop killers after uncovering a massive and unexpected conspiracy. As the night unfolds, lines become blurred on who he is pursuing, and who is in pursuit of him. When the search intensifies, extreme measures are taken to prevent the killers from escaping Manhattan as the authorities close all 21 Bridges to prevent any entry or exit from the iconic island.
By Jason Lin  20 Nov 2019
Just on the factor of entertainment, fans should receive a good dosage although the result would be the same regardless of whether the 21 bridges of Manhattan were shut down.
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Cop drama and thrillers have always been a staple fare at the cinemas. Many perceive it to be a challenge to introduce novelty to the genre. People used to adore the law enforcers where it is a dream career for some children. Keeping the society and community safe while having to cater to personal needs would be a recent angle of narrative that films took interest in.
From a background of television productions, director Brian Kirk helms his first silver screen production in the form of 21 Bridges that hits theatres this week. Riding on a story and screenplay by theatre actor and playwright Adam Mervis (and co-scripted by screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan), it would not be a surprise for the film to opt for style over substance where evoking emotions through dramatic scenes and cast performance would be prioritised over a well-developed story and characters.
Right from the beginning, everything was elaborated and presented to the audience with very little withheld. The drug heist operated by two men was also clearly portrayed from their perspectives where one of the worst-case scenarios took place and led to multiple fatalities. The film could adopt one of few possible routes from here on. Kirk could either forge a set of two strong villains with magnetic personalities and/or backstories, or lay the foundations for a plot twist towards the end.
With so much laid out for viewers, 21 Bridges left very little to the imagination and therefore made it easy for many to guess the subsequent plot developments. Given Kirk’s background, this would be more of a feature-length television production than a work of cinema. Once one accepted this as a given, 21 Bridges could then be better appreciated for what it sought to deliver.
Chadwick Boseman served well as NYPD detective Andre Davis, the film’s protagonist and key driver. Many would remember him as Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and likely to be curious to see how he would perform without the futuristic technology from the Kingdom of Wakanda.
There was a scene in the middle act where screenwriters showed off their abilities to craft interesting dialogues that would be agnostic to television and cinema. This was further accentuated by the prolific likes of J.K. Simmons who played NYPD Captain McKenna. Sadly, the screenwriters’ magic only took effect in said scene.
Otherwise, in the remaining minutes of the 99-minute production there would be adequate servings of action in the form of gunfights involving semi-automatic heavy weaponry, car chase and crashes, and brief close-quarters combat. Sound editing was also notable effective, where the sounds of car engine revs and muffled rifle shots were credible.
With a promising premise, 21 Bridges was somewhat let down by its approach to cater to entertainment instead of enlightenment. Just on the factor of entertainment, fans should receive a good dosage although the result would be the same regardless of whether the 21 bridges of Manhattan were shut down.
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