Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

2 the Movies: '21 Bridges' is about more than geography

A good but not great cop thriller.

Sometimes you just want a straight-up cop thriller; film with lots of running and gunning on the part of both cops and robbers and a not too convoluted plot so as not to overly strain the grey matter.

Well, that’s what 21 Bridges provides along with a little bit of a Manhattan-centric geography lesson.

NYPD Detective Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman, Marshall, Draft Day) has bit of a reputation on the force. Put bluntly, he’s killed a lot of suspects.

Now all of those shootings have been justified, but still, eight is a big number. But the filmmakers make sure that we know, in spite of his numbers, he’s a highly ethical and compassionate guy, being as his dad was killed in the line of duty and he takes care of his ailing, failing mom (Adriane Lenox, Crown Heights, The Skeleton Twins).

Credit: Courtesy of STX Films
Sienna Miller stars in 21 BRIDGES Courtesy of STXfilms

So when a couple of high-end criminals, Ray (Taylor Kitsch, John Carter, Snakes on a Plane) and Michael (Stephan James, Selma, If Beale Street Could Talk) try to pull off a cocaine heist, a heist that goes terribly wrong with a whole bunch of cops getting shot to death, it only makes sense that the NYPD would bring in Davis, a highly talented and skilled detective quite in addition to his propensities with a gun, to run lead on the case.

Credit: Courtesy of STXfilms
Taylor Kitsch and Stephan James star in 21 BRIDGES

Captain McKenna (J.K.Simmons, Whiplash, Juno), the boss of the precinct wherein this crime happened, makes it clear to Davis that he would prefer it if the perpetrators were killed rather than apprehended. He assigns Detective Frankie Burns (Sienna Miller, The Catcher was a Spy, American Sniper) to assist Davis.

Davis’ first move is to close off the island of Manhattan, where the perps are, but shutting down the eponymous 21 Bridges and all other access to the island. But, as Davis investigates, he finds some sinister puzzles amongst the clues.

Probably the best phrase to describe 21 Bridges is “exceptionally competent.” Director Kirk (Middletown) has an exceptional television drama resumé, and it shows. The scenes and pacing are just what you would expect from an exceptionally well-done TV crime drama, but with the obvious lack of budgetary constraints that theatrical releases are heir to.

Kirk has a great cast, with the likes of Boseman and Miller in the leads. But he also has some real talent in the “smaller but pivotal” roles.

For instance, Simmons takes a break from hawking car insurance to take on the police captain role with his usual flair and nuance.

So, while 21 Bridges is a very entertaining, albeit very violent, cop thriller and a fun hour-and-a-half ride-along, there really isn’t much that’s innovative about it.

Oh, as was stated above, it is superbly competent with a great cast, but it still can only run and gun its way to 4 out of 5 stars.

21 Bridges is directed by Brian Kirk and stars Chadwick Boseman, Stephan James, Taylor Kitsch, Sienna Miller, Keith David, and J. K. Simmons. It's rated R for violence and language throughout and runs 99 minutes.

But wait. There's another crime flick. The Irishman is in theatres for a few minutes before moving to Netflix. 

Credit: Netflix
Dipping bread in wine, known as Intinction, speaks to the shared Catholic traditions of Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro). © 2019 Netlfix US, LLC. All rights reserved.

Joe Pesci, and Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino are all in it, so, It must be a mob flick. Yeah, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman is doing a brief theatrical run before heading to the streaming service, so all you fans better hurry if you wanna see it on the big screen. It’s rated R for pervasive language and strong violence and is getting a lot of critical love.

For something completely different from the likes of Pesci, DeNiro and Pacino, we have A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. It's the story of Fred Roger’s friendship with a journalist. The Lovable Tom Hanks plays the Loveable Mr. Rogers. It’s Rated PG for some strong thematic material, a brief fight, and some mild language. It seems to be a must-see.

Oh, speaking of must-sees, at least for the die-hard Disney Fan, we’ve got something that will keep you frozen to your seats. Frozen 2 opens this weekend, the sequel to the spectacular Frozen. The critical acclaim is there but muted. The consensus is the Frozen 2 is very good, but not as good as the first one. I’m gonna take my niece and granddaughter and go anyway. It’s Rated PG for action/peril and some thematic elements.

I'm Larry Haneberg, and I'm taking you 2 The Movies.

RELATED: 2 the Movies: 'Ford v Ferrari' races to the end

RELATED: 2 the Movies review: 'Zombieland: Double Tap' is double the fun

RELATED: 2 the Movies: Double the Will Smith doesn't mean double the thrills