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Review: Chadwick Boseman and thin characters cannot prevent & # 39; 21 bridges & # 39; from collapsing

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Three words represent "21 bridges". And no, they are not "twenty", "one" or "bridges". It's when Detective Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman) says, "Close the island." Manhattan, that's it. Suddenly this strange and messy police and robber story clicks into place: it is "Escape from New York" through "Three Days of the Condor", with a political zest for life. That does not mean that it is in any way as good as one of those films, but it shows us the beast we are dealing with: a high-concept thriller with a ticking clock and a murderous premise, although it is not entirely fulfills that promise.

With a script by Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan, directed by Brian Kirk, this quick and spirited mystery contains Boseman as the maverick detective at the head of an investigation into a theft that left eight police officers dead. The son of a killed officer, Andre, has the reputation of being happy with eight shots in almost as many years. But he swears he never shoots just like that. Yet his representative precedes him and boiling with revenge, the 85th district is happy to see him when he walks into the crime scene in a restaurant where 50 kilos of uncut cocaine has been stolen and half a dozen police officers have been killed.

"21 Bridges" is not a whodunit, because it shows us the whole crime as it takes place, while Michael (Stephan James) and Ray (Taylor Kitsch) storm the restaurant. They escape in a bloodbath and the film evolves into a chase film, a game of cat and mouse, while the NYPD closes all access to and from Manhattan and keeps their criminals imprisoned on the island until the morning. But the mystery in the middle is why the crime unfolded as it did and what mysteries the manhunt reveals, not just about the hunted but the hunters.

The story is based on broad character regions. Sienna Miller makes a whole meal of a messy sandwich and a wild outer city accent, while Boseman radiates a kind of droll, strange ball, almost Charles Bronson-like energy. It feels like too much has been cut out of his background, or Boseman called.

The person who sparks on the screen is James, the star of & # 39; If Beale Street Could Talk & # 39; from last year, and argued for his own active franchise. The child can move. In a particularly good series of actions where all the bystanders and bumbles have been removed, Andre Michael chases through an empty restaurant kitchen, a jumble of screeching cars and into the subway. James is a miracle to physically see how he argues for a & # 39; Bourne & # 39; revival in a few moments.

The series illustrates the potential of what the film could have been: a man on the run in a city closed until dawn, where everyone knows his face. (If the filmmakers wanted you to think of paranoid political thrillers from the & # 39; 70, there's a reference to & # 39; The Parallax View & # 39 ;, wink wink nudge nudge.) But with scanty characterization and a twist that you see coming miles away, & # 39; 21 Bridges & # 39; just don't get all the way to the other side.

Katie Walsh is a film critic for Tribune News Service.

& # 39; 21 bridges & # 39;

Rated: R, for violence and language everywhere

Playing time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Play: generally released

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