The Dove Take:
Integrity is a rare gem that is infrequently presented to audiences via Hollywood films. 21 Bridges breaks the mold with cops who respect the badge, though they resort to too much potty-mouthing while doing it.
Sometimes, it’s just in your DNA. That’s how police detective Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman) felt about working for NYPD. But when he is called to investigate the brutal murders of seven police officers during a drug heist gone bad, he has to decide if he’s strong enough to get this job done.
21 Bridges is an action-packed drama that tells the story of one NYPD police detective who has a reputation for being “the cop that kills cop-killers.” Andre Davis follows his father’s example, even though Sgt. Reginald Davis was killed in the line of duty when Andre was only 13 years old. His brutal death only fueled the fire within Andre to carry on the legacy of protecting the citizens of New York. It was “just in his DNA.”
Davis has a reputation of being trigger-happy due to having shot and killed eight suspects in the last nine years on the force, resulting in multiple reviews by internal affairs. However, Davis stands firm in his defense that he only shoots when being shot at. When he arrives to investigate a violent crime scene, several other cops celebrate him as being “the guy who will get the job done.” What Davis doesn’t know is that he’s about to uncover a terrible secret that has been kept hidden within the eight-five for too long.
As precincts around New York City collaborate to assist Davis in his investigation, including closing off all 21 bridges in and out of Manhattan, he quickly descends in on the two suspects. Narcotics detective Bush (Sienna Miller), a fierce cop who knows the drug scene of the city well, is assigned to work with Davis on the case — but Davis wonders if she can be trusted.
After one of the suspects (Taylor Kisch) is taken down, the second man, Michael Trujillo (Stephan James) divulges to Davis his suspicions that the entire heist was a setup and that there’s more to the crime than meets the eye. Just as Trujillo is about to surrender to Davis, Bush shoots and kills Trujillo, pushing Davis to consider that what Trujillo told him may be worth investigating.
21 Bridges is loaded with action and even laced with biblical references and an emphasis on the integrity of one police detective amid a slew of corrupt cops. However, it is riddled with expletives and violence that outweigh any virtuous qualities that are intermittently woven throughout. As a result, 21 Bridges is not Dove-approved.