James Gilbert’s review published on Letterboxd:
Following the two bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon, police officer Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) leads a search for the perpetrators (Alex Wolff, Themo Melikidze).
Why is it that one of the rare occasions when Mark Wahlberg gives a good performance, it's in a film with a bad script? He is genuinely really good here, and it is probably intended as a sign of respect for the victims of the real-life bombing. I won't even try to make light of that, because I can't.
I still cannot get over the script, though. This film tries to adapt too many stories from real-life people involved in the real event, whether they be from the investigative team, recovery process, or bystanders thrust into the trouble later on, and it doesn't work. A lot of the side characters just feel extremely unimportant to the core of the film's plot, and end up feeling cast aside soon after their important moment to shine.
Jimmy O. Yang as Dun Meng is a major example. Now, I'm a big fan of Jimmy O. Yang, and I was really happy to see him pop up in a film that would give him more of a chance to give a serious performance. But, he didn't need to be in it. Some of the other law enforcement characters, like those played by Kevin Bacon and John Goodman, aren't all that necessary in the way the plot goes either. The fact that they have those actors in those roles is really the only reason why they're memorable. And J.K. Simmons factually makes everything better.
The action scenes are actually done pretty well, and the necessary emotional response is absolutely there, especially in the film's coda where it uses interviews with the real people the film is based on paired with archive footage of David Ortiz being as cool and inspiring as ever at Fenway and one of the survivors at a later Marathon run. Bonus points for the Ken Casey cameo, but asides from a few performances and sequences, this film doesn't really hold the importance that it should.