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Film / 21 Bridges

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21 Bridges (also titled Manhattan Lockdown in some countries) is a 2019 American Thriller directed by Brian Kirk and produced by The Russo Brothers.

NYPD Det. Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman) investigates the deaths of several officers by shutting down all the bridges in order to catch the cop killers but he suspects there is more going on.

The film also stars Sienna Miller, Stephan James, Taylor Kitsch, J. K. Simmons, and Alexander Siddig.

It was released on November 22, 2019.


Tropes for the film:

  • Blatant Lies: Much of the movie’s plot revolves around a group of crooked cops telling increasingly outrageous lies during the investigation of a robbery gone wrong, until finally Andre connects all the dots and determines which cop is exactly involved in the conspiracy based on the lies that he/she told during that investigation.
  • Born Detective: Andre's father was also a cop who died in the line of duty when he was a child. He claims that becoming a police officer wasn't a choice, but "genetics".
  • Closed Circle: Davis invokes this to catch the cop killers, shutting down all the bridges and tunnels connecting Manhattan Island to the rest of New York City.
  • Cop Killer: The plot takes off when two robbers shoot and kill several officers who were answering a call about a robbery in progress. However, it soon becomes evident that there was no call to the police, but rather that those cops were secretly on their way to take over the same narcotics that the robbers wanted to steal. The detective investigating the murders himself later shoots three dirty cops defending himself from them. He'd also earlier lost his own cop dad to criminals.
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  • Cop Killer Manhunt: When eight cops are shot by two armed suspects, with seven dead on the scene, it causes the NYPD to go all out in the effort to hunt them down. They convince the mayor to close all of Manhattan's bridges, with the best detective at hunting down cop killers called in (who'd lost his own cop dad to this). One suspect is killed first in a shootout with the cops, and then the next gunned down by a detective. It turns out this was not to legitimate defense nor revenge, but to cover for police corruption he'd uncovered. Both knew they had to leave the city tout suit and would be forever on the run.
  • Cowboy Cop: Andre has a reputation for being overly aggressive, having shot eight suspects over his career. He claims (and we have little reason to doubt him) that all of the shootings were justified, but it's clear he doesn't hesitate to resort to violence. It's also why he's put on the case. His corrupt superior expects him to kill the suspects so their own corruption won't be revealed.
  • Dirty Cop: It is revealed that many of the cops are involved with drug smuggling and Captain McKenna started the operation to ensure his men have good lives.
  • Disappeared Dad: Andre's father was killed in the line of duty when he was 13.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Andre is an expert detective with years of experience on the NYPD. He has even developed a reputation as a "killer of cop killers" because he has tracked down and killed several criminals responsible for murdering police officers over his career.
  • Fair Cop: A given when Burns is played by Sienna Miller.
  • Foil: The film emphasizes the fact that Dre and Mike are very similar. Both are intelligent, capable, detail-oriented black men who are also capable killers, if and only if they feel the other guy deserves it, driven by the loss of a beloved close relative, and coupled with a rather more gung-ho partner. Mike's hair and beard look a lot like Dre's, and during the big foot chase, they both wear a very similar dark coat and light shirt combo. They arguably look similar enough to be related.
  • Foreshadowing: There's tons of it.
    • In the opening robbery scene, the cops knock on the restaurant window. They casually rap with their knuckles, rather than banging on the door with their fists like cops checking out a crime scene. Mike notices this, and tells Dre they were knocking "like Jehovah's Witnesses". We also don't find out why they were at the restaurant, but the 'burglary/silent alarm' story doesn't work, since they would've been more cautious from the jump, nobody could've called in an alarm, and there probably wouldn't need to be four of them.
    • When Mike has Burns hostage and points out the manager knew the cops were coming, Burns immediately suggests a silent alarm, even though we haven't heard a single word about an alarm.
    • The large amount of cocaine automatically suggests it belongs to someone with serious connections, enough to spook Mike the second he realizes. Turns out to be the 85th.
    • McKenna wants Andre to put the people responsible for killing his men on a slab. In a sense, that includes him, and he dies at the end of the movie.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: The two robbers that kick off the plot by killing several police officers are former U.S. Marines and combat veterans. Their experience in combat (and better weapons) made them extremely lethal against everyday NYPD cops.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Mostly averted during much of the movie, with all the characters missing most of their shots in firefights and only occasionally getting a lucky (but plausible) hit, but played straight at the very end, when Andre turns into a sharpshooting One-Man Army.
  • Moe Greene Special: Ray and Michael's fixer, Adi, gets blinded in his right eye when a crooked cop shoots Adi through the peephole to Adi's apartment door.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Andre is an NYPD detective who has earned a reputation for tracking down and killing criminals who have murdered cops; each killing was apparently justified as self-defense.
  • Revolvers Are for Amateurs: When some of his colleagues kill a suspect and plant a gun on him to justify the shooting, Davis reacts with skepticism when he sees that it's a snubnose revolver, noting everyone else involved in the crime were using automatic rifles, and the gun in question is exactly the kind that cops use as backup weapons.
  • Styrofoam Rocks: The robbers are explicitly said to be stealing 110 lbs of cocaine. Divided into four tote bags, each bag would weight 27.5 lbs. When Taylor Kitsch's character pulls his bags out of the car, however, they swing easily from the straps in his hands with every tiny motion, revealing that the props are almost weightless. The same is true when they exchange the drugs for cash (which, it's pointed out, weighs basically the same as the cocaine.