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Two men plan to steal 30 pounds of cocaine, but instead, they find 300 pounds, where 30 pounds of cocaine is supposed to be. Someone screwed up. Four cops knock on the door, but there’s no response—two stay at the front, two go to the back. Bullets fire and chaos ensues: eight officers are dead, and Manhattan goes on lockdown.
This is the opening scene of “21 Bridges”, a newly released dramatic action movie. The movie is one of the best movies released during the holiday season for its great plot, dynamic characters, great actors and surprising twist at the end.
The plot succeeds because it is mostly realistic—it is easy to imagine a drug deal gone wrong and the events that follow after. However, in reality, it is unlikely that the entire borough of Manhattan would ever be shut down. With the exception of the tragic events of 9/11, the city would never allow something like this to happen with the little evidence they had of killers actually being on the island. The fact that within “21 Bridges”, the mayor was never notified, yet the assistant mayor was, was also bothersome.
The movie also has interesting character depiction: why does Detective Davis, known by his coworkers as a “cop killer,” not shoot a man suspected of killing eight officers? Rather than immediately killing the man the way he is expected to, he would rather talk it out. Somehow this night is different than all the rest because Davis doesn’t shoot the men, and instead tries to talk to them.
Detective Davis (Chadwick Boseman) is a dynamic character: he changes from a caring child who cares for his mother with dementia, to a perceivably tough guy. Boseman was meant to play this role because of his kindness and compassion as a person, yet plays the role of a tired detective effortlessly. Boseman’s character as Detective Davis will not sleep until he caught the suspects.
As he is a detective, Davis also does a great job of collecting facts. He learns about the background of the men and is able to use that against them when it comes down to confrontation. He also is able to collect all the facts at the end, when he finally confronts Captain McKenna, played by TV and movie cop legend J. K. Simmons.
Frankie Burns (Sienna Miller) is also an easy character for audiences to like for how she cares very much about her daughter. One touching moment in the movie is when she says that she does not want to die because her daughter would wake up without a mother. She is also a very determined character, doing everything to help catch the bad guys.
Viewers want to root for her due to her determination. She calls it how she sees it and is willing to do whatever it takes to kill the cop killers.
Her boss is Captain McKenna (J.K. Simmons). Simmons does a great job in the movie, sticking up for the NYPD over the FBI. His in-your-face and “I’m right” attitude makes him the perfect boss for his confidence, lack of hesitation, and willingness to defend any of his officers.
However, the audience is in for a surprise when they find out that McKenna has secrets that are uncovered in the hunt for the killers. This ends up coming back to bite him at the end of the movie.
The movie had great dramatic music that matched with each mood and scene. This adds to the suspense and fear of what is to happen. It also adds to the sad and grieving scenes, such as the funeral for Davis’ father.
Overall, this film is powerful for its great dynamic characters and deep story. The message of determination, friendship and doing the right thing, is something for the audience to take away from the film. As for its list of star actors, they lead the movie and leave viewers at the edge of their seats.