This New York City cop action drama has a bit of a stiff start and a somewhat silly ending, but in between, it's a brisk, no-frills entertainment, thanks mainly to Boseman's star charisma. 21 Bridges begins with an attempt to explain young Andre's motivations, which isn't really followed up -- or really needed. Then there's an awkwardly written scene of grown-up Andre being interrogated by Internal Affairs. But after that, things get going very quickly, and director Brian Kirk -- a TV veteran (Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, etc.) making his feature debut -- keeps the ball rolling.
For most of the movie, the action is fairly clean, interactions are brief, and Kirk makes excellent, colorful use of Manhattan, from villains' lairs to the underbellies of restaurants and hotels. Boseman is well paired with Miller, who's tough and relentless while looking a bit shabby and ratty; she certainly isn't defined by her looks or gender. The two cop killers, likewise, are more than just sneering bad guys. They have a history and a shorthand, and they're smart and scared. It's all pretty good until the final showdown, which does have one or two interesting themes but then throws it all away on a rush job. Still, Boseman is commanding from start to finish, and 21 Bridges is a passable enough entertainment for fans of the genre.