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Chadwick Bosman plays the avenging son of a slain cop.

Matt Kennedy/The Associated Press

  • 21 Bridges
  • Directed by Brian Kirk
  • Written by Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan
  • Starring Chadwick Boseman, Stephan James and Sienna Miller
  • Classification 14A; 100 minutes

rating

All our lives we’ve been told New York is the city that doesn’t sleep. Not true, says the mainstream police drama 21 Bridges. Manhattan goes to bed, apparently setting its alarm clock for 5 o’clock the next morning. That’s the self-imposed deadline for Chadwick Boseman’s sharp detective Andre Davis to solve a cocaine heist gone bad and a multiple cop killing that happened at midnight. To keep the two suspects in Manhattan, it is decided to block off the island’s exits to keep them from vanishing rat-like into the other boroughs and points beyond.

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The premise is a manufactured one, amplified by police cars roaring to the city’s bridges – somewhere between 20 and 22 by my count – with lights flashing and tires skidding. After that, it’s all about the chase and the spoon-fed suspicion that something doesn’t quite add up.

The always excellent Boseman (Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Black Panther) is the avenging son of a slain cop who has built up quite a body count over his career on the force. His reputation as a shoot-first guy is the reason he’s assigned to find the two men who gunned down eight police officers – one imagines his idea of a Miranda warning is something along the lines of, “You have the right to remain dead.”

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There’s enough action to keep things moving along, but the drama is ho-hum, juiced up with a turgid soundtrack and sirens howling in the night. It’s all just so average.

21 Bridges opens Nov. 22.

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