21 Bridges (Blu-ray Review)

Chadwick Boseman makes an attempt to break from the chains of T’Challah in 21 Bridges. This action-thriller sets up a very interesting plot point with semi-mixed results.  Read more about this cinematic page-turner also starring Sienna Miller, JK Simmons and Taylor Kitsch below, and click the Amazon (paid) link below to get yourself a copy!


Andre Davis (Boseman) was born to be a police officer. The film opens with Andre at his own father’s funeral, mourning the loss of his father from an on-duty killing.  This starts the film on a slower, more somber note. When we catch up with Andre as an adult, he is in law-enforcement now as well, of course. Andre does not mess around.  He is extremely successful as an officer but continues to struggle even years later with the loss of his father. Andre makes it a goal to make sure no officer loses their life while he’s on duty.

On a dark, rainy evening (of course…), Andre is called to investigate a robbery involving an exorbitant amount of cocaine.  He is partnered with Frankie (Sienna Miller), who is local to the geography of the case.  Almost immediately, Andre and Frankie run into trouble with the FBI who are also on the case.  The movie gets interesting when we are taken away from the police procedure and goes with the thieves for a while.  Michael and Ray (Stephan James and Taylor Kitsch) are veterans and petty thieves.  The amount of cocaine they’ve stolen is way more than they’d be hired to take.  When they get greedy and try to make a profit on their score, things of course go awry.

Action scenes abound and shootouts and chases are aplenty.  Andre and Frankie are a capable team, but often find themselves at odds with the feds, the local precinct (which Frankie belongs to), and the city itself.  That’s when Andre decides to shut down all the bridges (and a couple of tunnels) to stop the robbers from escaping New York.

The real meat of the movie is standard action fair.  The characters show up on screen, say some lines, and we get treated to some intense action.  The style of it all is decent overall mostly due to it being a modern action flick.  I did enjoy the race against time aspect and how Chadwick Boseman continues to give great performances even in more middling fare (which this is…)  JK Simmons continues to put himself in film roles as a sneaky guy, and I enjoyed that as well. The ending doesn’t do much to help the film either…

If I were to nail down a direct criticism for this film, it would be that it’s something I’ve seen, and I guarantee others have seen before.  If not as a whole film, there are facets to the film that have been done better in other films.  The things 21 Bridges does borrow successfully are certain scenes – There is a chase scene involving a train that was quite exciting.  Locking down New York is something cool as well. But little chunks don’t a movie make.  In a time when a lot of film fans are looking for something just a little different, it’s generic films like this that make studios go back to old ideas for comfort.  This one feels like it could’ve used a few more ideas to better flesh it out.  What might have been had that opportunity been realized… could’ve been better than mediocre.


  • Encoding: MPEG 4/AVC
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Clarity/Detail: 21 Bridges may not deliver in the story department, but it’s a fantastic presentation on Blu-ray. Clear right out of the gate and gorgeously detailed throughout, you can’t complain about a transfer like this.  The film was filmed at 3.5K and 2K and looks it.  These are the reasons we love Blu-ray. There is a sparkle to this transfer that works amazingly even in darker scenes (as the movie is predominantly presented at night…) There is no loss of detail anywhere and there are many moments to highlight in the presentation.  Definitely, a top-notch disc in the clarity department.
  • Depth: For an HD presentation, there are moments of great depth. In the first shootout, you’re in a room that’s dark and cramped, but gazing around the room you see all the elements of the room.  Not a 3D Pop, but lovely all the same.
  • Black Levels: As the movie is predominantly a “night movie”, the darkness is all over this disc.  There are no elements of crush to be seen.
  • Color Reproduction: Colors are nicely rendered throughout. The color landscape is mostly darker colors – Blues, browns, etc. but all look fantastic.  When things do lighten up, there is a nice uptick in the brightness, without losing any definition.
  • Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are nice and organic. No fakery to this funk!
  • Noise/Artifacts: None


  • Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English DVS 2.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Dynamics: Dynamically, this is as good a mix for a generic action movie as you can get. Music, effects, and ambient sounds are all fantastic. Beyond the action sequences, the rest of the film is more front heavy.  Dialogue is there, but I’ll share more on that below.
  • Low Frequency Extension: Low end is a specialty for this mix. The many scenes of chase, gunfire and assault weaponry work the subwoofer in not so subtle ways.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Surrounds are used in action scenes. Beyond that, you’re not going to be hearing a ton of material surrounding you.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: While the dialogue is intelligible and clear, we have a case of the “volume up for speaking” syndrome. I had to keep my remote in hand to adjust the volume a lot during the film.


21 Bridges comes home in a Blu-ray combo pack with a DVD, Digital Code and a Slipcover.  The special features are light —  A few cut scenes, trailers and a commentary by Director Brian Kirk and Editor Tim Murrell.

  • Deleted Scenes (1080p, 2:55) – “You’re Going to Need Some Muscle”, “Iggy Peck” and “Black Car with Damage”… If the names of the scenes don’t sound interesting, you’d be remiss if you bothered to watch them…
  • Trailers (1080p, 6:03)
  • Commentary by Brian Kirk and editor Tim Murrell


21 Bridges had the feel of a solid Sunday Afternoon type of action film.  The thing that kind of killed it for me was that I instantly forgot a good chunk of the film after the first viewing.  Even to review it I had to take a second look just to remember character arcs and names.  There are too many characters, too little plot, and not enough of a payoff for this one to be better than a rental for most folks.  The technical merits are impressive though, and if you’re OK with something a little more standard/unoriginal, this may be your kind of film.  It wasn’t mine, but I digress…

  1. No Comments