What should have been a typical ride along turns to a fight for survival in this thriller inspired by a 1997 incident that changed the police world in terms of arms.
In the small town of Chesterford, Massachusetts, police officer Mike Chandler is on the verge of retirement. Partnered with his son-in-law Steve McAvoy, he is excited to learn he will become a grandfather, even with a bit of an estrangement from daughter Lisa. On this day, the duo’s assignment involves a ride along with teenager Kenny, who stood up to a bully and got in trouble with the school, forcing him to either go for the ride along or be expelled.
At first, things seem to be smooth. That is, until they notice a suspicious vehicle in front of the local bank, which is in the midst of being robbed by a band of ex-military officers led by Tre. When Mike and Steve approach the vehicle, they are met with gunfire from the driver, who is one of the robbers. The situation gets intense when Steve is critically wounded after being shot in the leg. However, with perseverance, both Mike and the young Kenny, along with the other police officers and SWAT will do what it takes to top the robbers once and for all.
From director York Shackleton comes this film inspired by the Battle of North Hollywood, in which in 1997, there was a shootout between two heavily armed bank robbers and the LAPD. Twelve police officers and eight civilians were injured but ended with the robbers killed. This led to an upgrade in firepower for the police. Shackleton moves the action from Los Angeles to the small town of Chesterford, MA in the film, which was actually shot on location in Bulgaria.
Once again, this is a case of whether you like or can’t stand Nicolas Cage. In this case, he does a great job as Mike, a cop on the verge of retirement who never would imagine his last assignment would not go as smoothly as expected. New Zealander Dwayne Crawford’s Steve acts as a middleman between Mike and his daughter Lisa, played by Sophie Skelton, who has an estrangement towards her father as she blames him for the death of her mother for him not being there enough. Kudos goes to Michael Rainey Jr. as Kenny, a teenager who is forced into a situation he didn’t deserve to be in in the first place, but finds the means to find a bit of redemption for his actions considering the situation.
Ori Pfeffer’s Tre is the ringleader of robbers who are revealed in the film’s opening minutes to be ex-military officers who feel they are owed money. Cage’s son Weston, along with Michael Bellasario and Sean James make up the group. Alexandra Dinu plays the mysterious Rossi, an Interpol agent who has been tracking the robbers and trails them to Chesterford and does what she can to assist the local cops much to their chagrin.
Along with beats of action, the film does present some very tense drama coming from all sides. Aside from the action in front of the bank and the plans of action, the film takes us to the hospital where victims are being treated. This brings a level of intensity in terms of the dramatic efforts to save lives in a very dangerous situation that is all set throughout the course of one whole day.
211 is a tense action-drama whose real-life inspiration can be seen in terms of both cause and effect. Nicolas Cage puts in a great performance as a veteran cop on perhaps his last assignment with great support from the likes of Michael Rainey Jr. and Dwayne Crawford.
WFG RATING: B+
Momentum Pictures presents a Millennium Films/Nu Image Bulgaria/211 Productions Film. Director: York Shackleton. Producers: Jeffrey Greenstein, Avi Lerner, Les Weldon, Jonathan Yunger, and Isaac Florentine. Writer: John Rebus; based on an original screenplay by York Shackleton. Cinematography: Alexander Krumov. Editing: Ivan Todorov.
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Dwayne Crawford, Michael Rainey Jr., Sophie Skelton, Ori Pfeffer, Weston Cage, Raymond Bellasario, Sean James, Cory Hardrict, Sapir Azulay, Alexandra Dinu, Velizar Binev, Bleona.
Momentum Pictures will release the film to select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on June 8.