Blu-ray Review: 21 BRIDGES

Feb 23 Posted by in DVD/Blu-ray, Reviews | Comments

Two armed thieves are robbing a Manhattan restaurant in the middle of the night when things go awry. First they discover 300 kilos of cocaine on the premises when they were told there was only going to be 50, and then the cops arrive as they are trying to carry out the drugs, forcing them to shoot their way out. Ray (Taylor Kitsch) and Michael (Stephan James), manage to escape, but leave 8 dead cops in their wake. While Ray is a former military guy with lots of experience killing people, his younger protege Michael is new to this. Now both of them are on the run, and desperate to get out of Manhattan.

Leading the investigation is NYPD Detective Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman). When he was just 13, Andre’s father was killed in the line of duty, and for the past 9 years, Andre has made it his mission to carry on his father’s legacy. He has no qualms about shooting the bad guys if needed, and he always gets his man. As he arrives on the scene, Andre is welcomed by Deputy Chief Spencer (Keith David), an old family friend, who introduces him to Captain McKenna (J.K. Simmons), whose officers lay slain on the grown. The captain requests that Andre find the men responsible and “take care of them”—there’s no need for the widows and families of the dead officers to go through the long drawn-out trial process.

Due to the sizable amount of drugs involved in the case, Andre is partnered with Detective Frankie Burns (Sienna Miller) of the DETF, a tough single mom who is eager to catch the men responsible. In order to trap the thieves, Andre requests that the mayor to lock down the city, closing all 21 bridges that lead in and out of Manhattan, confining the suspects to the island while they perform their manhunt. The mayor concedes, but only gives the police 4 hours until he reopens the island for the 5 am commute. So, with the clock ticking, Andre kicks off the manhunt, but as the investigation progresses, he slowly discovers that there is more to this case—a much larger conspiracy starts to unfold, and he doesn’t know who he can or should trust.

21 Bridges is a solidly entertaining film. It starts off with an action-packed robbery gone wrong/shootout, and then moves on to a tense manhunt and conspiracy thriller. The film follows the action on both sides of the case. We see the robbers desperately trying to get their money and escape the island as the cops are barreling down on their location. At the same time, we are also following Andre, his manhunt, and the conspiracy that is slowly coming to light. The filmmakers really know how to build the tension and excitement throughout the film, from action-packed shootouts and chases, to lots of twists and turns in the story as a conspiracy starts to unfold, which adds another level of danger for Andre as he starts to wonder who he can trust. The same conspiracy plays out with the thieves as well, who also discover that all is not as it should be. Adding to the tension, is a countdown that regularly pops up on the screen, showing how much time the police have left before the bridges will be reopened, and their suspects will be free to escape.

The cast is fantastic, led by the amazing Chadwick Boseman, who once again proves to be a strong, engrossing lead. You really get the sense of Andre’s commitment to carry on his father’s legacy, and always do the right thing no matter what. He is joined by an amazing supporting cast, including the always-great J.K. Simmons. The actors on both sides of the story do an excellent job at making you care about their characters and get invested in their different plights.

Universal’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds excellent. Much of the film takes place at night, but the picture remains crisp and clean throughout, with a pleasant amount of grain to add to the grittiness of the tone. Even though the film did not get a 4K physical media release, the digital copy offers viewers the chance to watch the film in 4K via streaming on the AppleTV app. The audio track provides clear dialogue as well as an immersive viewing experience, as the sounds of gunfire fly across the room, or the sounds of helicopters can be heard overhead.

The Blu-ray and DVD discs comes packed in standard HD keepcase with a slipcover, and contains an insert with a code to redeem for a 4K iTunes digital copy of the film (it is not Movies Anywhere compatible). The bonus material consists of just 3 minutes of deleted scenes, 3 trailers, and an audio commentary by the director and editor.

What’s Included:

Film: (1:39:59)


    • 1080p / Widescreen 2.39:1
    • Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DVS (Descriptive Video Service)
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish


    • 480i / Anamorphic Widescreen 2.39:1
    • Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DVS (Descriptive Video Service)
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

    Digital (Code may be invalid after 2/18/2025):

    • 4K digital copy redeemable via iTunes (Not Movies Anywhere compatible)


  • Deleted Scenes (2:55)
    Collection of three deleted/extended scenes. Play All, or select from:

    • SC 04 “You’re Going to Need Some Muscle” (:53)
      The chief encourages a young Andre to eat something after his father’s funeral.
    • SC 06 “Iggy Peck” (:51)
      Frankie Burns and her daughter bond over a children’s book.
    • SC 20 “Black Car with Damage” (1:10)
      Andre surveys the crime scene with the Chief.
  • Trailers (6:03)
    Collection of three trailes. Play All, or select from:

    • Trailer 1 (2:26)
    • Trailer 2 (2:24)
    • Trailer 3 (1:01)
  • Feature Commentary with Director Brian Kirk and Editor Tim Murrell (1:39:59)
    Director Brian Kirk and Editor Tim Murrell provide an interesting an informative scene-by-scene commentary throughout the film. As they discuss the story and the characters and their motivations, they also share stories about the production process itself.


Final Thoughts:

My Rating
Highly Recommended

21 Bridges is a solid action-packed thriller starring an amazing cast. I first saw this film in the theater, and enjoyed it just as much this second time around on Blu-ray. Universal’s Blu-ray release provides solid picture and sound, and even includes a 4K digital copy (via AppleTV only). The one disappointment is the minimal bonus features, which primarily consists of 3 short deleted scenes and a filmmaker commentary (though that’s still a lot more than some other recent STX releases have received). The release comes highly recommended based on the film itself.