Honestly 211 deserves 3.5 stars but I don’t have a half star image in the Web available fonts. This is a well done movie. Yes, many will say the bank robbery gone bad formula has been done to death, but they did a good job here. You can even watch this movie for free on The Roku Channel.
I Like the Cheap Movie Trend
I gotta say that I like the cheap movie trend Bruce Willis and Nicolas Cage have been on lately. Yes, the National Treasure franchise was a big budget spectacle with a high re-watchable factor, but these little movies are nice too.
211 is actually a bunch of little stories colliding like a train wreck.
Some bad-ass mercenaries find out they are not getting paid when their boss hires some locals to whack them. They kill the locals, the boss, and his accountant, but not before finding out one of the banks where the money is hidden.
Michael Rainey Jr. plays a black kid in a school with a mostly well-off white student body. School has a zero tolerance policy on violence. Three dudes catch him alone in the bathroom, make fun of him, stuff his head in a urnal (oh yes, they went there!) and film it. When his screams for help go unanswered he shoves back, closes his eyes and swings. Lays the dude out on the floor. That’s when a teacher finally walks in.
School has a zero tolerance policy on violence. (They also don’t confiscate the cameras and look for video.) He can be expelled from school or he can do a “ride along” in the back of a squad for a day supposedly to correct his behavior.
Nicolas Cage is a cop hitting retirement that is mostly estranged from his daughter due to him not being able to deal with her mom’s death from cancer. The nice twist to the trope is that his son-in-law not only somewhat worships him, he rides with him in the squad. Very early on the daughter learns that she is finally pregnant.
Oh, you can guess who gets stuck with the “ride along.”
Alexandra Dinu plays Interpol Agent Rossi. She is called into the blood bath in story 1 at the beginning because she has been tracking this group for a while. She too arrives on-scene during the train wreck. Technically she has jurisdiction but she has no manpower and this train is still spinning.
Dudes are Dudes. When guys are working jobs where their lives are on the line they can have friends of all races and be racist with each other. There is an endearing moment after Nicolas Cage finds out he will finally be a grandfather. One of his black cop friends arrives in the parking lot and starts giving the son-in-law shit about “bring your grampa to work day.” Nicolas responds with “as it turns out, I have just learned I’m going to be a grandpa.” There’s some back and forth of mutual dissing while walking into the station.
About the time they get to the stairs someone said “Well, it could have been worse.” Nicolas turns to look at his black friend and says “Yeah. It could have been you.”
“Why? Because I’m black?”
“No” responds Nicolas. After a few steps, “Well, yeah.” Everybody busts up laughing.
I don’t want to steal the thunder. Just pay attention to the middle of the fire fight when they call each other brothers.
211 is a much better movie than many give it credit for. My biggest disappointment with it was that Alexandra Dinu didn’t have more of a role. I should say, that Agent Rossi didn’t have more of a role trying to contain the catastrophe. They set it up like she was going to do something fantastic. Maybe that footage is on the cutting room floor.
Michael Rainey Jr. delivers an Oscar worthy performance. There is just no other way to describe his role. He really delivers in the transition from a supposedly gay black school kid to someone that nuts up keeping pressure on a would and trying to keep a shot cop alive.
There are a lot of little cops giving each other shit sub-stories in 211. It’s what happens when you bond as a family or unit.