It seems the two of us had watched very different films...
Further discussion led to phrases such as “been done before”, “just a cop movie” and “predictable” being bandied about — and it was hard to argue against them.
But at the same time, they missed the point.
With 21 Bridges, it's not the story that's being told that matters so much as HOW it is being told.
The plot, despite many a twist and turn, is remarkably simple. A botched raid on some stashed coke leads to a mass shoot-out and more dead cops than you can shake a sub-machine gun at.
Cue Detective Davis (Chadwick Boseman) being called in to track down the two hoodlums responsible for the massacre, and promptly being saddled with Detective Burns (Sienna Miller) from narcotics.
And from here, yes, we can't argue, A follows B in the finest of traditions.
But as we said above, it's how the story is shaped and told...
For a start, the decision is made to shut down the whole of Manhattan – including the titular 21 Bridges. A deadline is then added to the mix.
What this does is create a tense, claustrophobic atmosphere meaning no one can take a breathe and the chase becomes beautifully relentless from there on in.
But even that isn't what makes this film what it is.
The use of dark streets, cars racing through the night, the stark contrast of the underground are all utilised beautifully by first-time movie director Brian Kirk (whose work on Game Of Thrones and Luther proves he knows what he's doing).
The use of aerial shots also give an added sheen to proceedings, bringing to mind a grittier version of Welcome To The Punch.
It's the sound design. That's where the real magic of 21 Bridges lies.
From the moment the bad guys drive up to the wine bar in their quiet car, the doors shutting softly, you know you are in the hands of a lover of the craft (sound designer Lawrence Zipf in this case).
Not since Stoker has the sound of a movie got us this excited.
And that his how the tension is quietly, gently ratcheted up during the course of the film.
The score insinuates rather than instructs, during a brilliant chase scene it underpins rather than shouts over the top (in one case allowing the sound of clattering pots and pans to ring clear).
And while the tempo of the film barely changes, the beat of the sound effects and sound track plug themselves into your adrenal glands and take control.
Now obviously this doesn't work for everyone, but when it does....
And to be honest, it needs to.
The characters are rather cliched, Miller's narc cop is paper thin at best and her delivery is somewhat flat, bad guys Stephen James and Taylor Kitsch have been in a million other movies – but once you get lost in the action, once you let the sounds wrap themselves around you, none of that matters.
It helps a lot that Boseman is a commanding screen presence, utterly believable and plays his detective with depth and nuance. A lesser actor could have got lost in this.
The film is not without other flaws, either, and one piece of expositional dialogue could have been replaced by a bunch of pom-pom waving cops singing “THIS IS A CLUE” in full falsetto and it would have invoked fewer tuts.
But the positives outweigh the negatives here.
Has the story been told before? Of course. Has it been told with more depth? Almost certainly.
But has it been told with slick care and attention to the finer details? Not recently.
At the end of the day, sometimes all you want from a film is just to sit back and enjoy it washing over you. And for that, 21 Bridges is perfect.