Netflix has a hearty collection of original television programs on it’s streaming platform but not too much in the way of blockbuster films. That’s why all eyes were on Bright, a big budget buddy cop film starring Will Smith. Critics ripped the film into shreds but I still watched it. You know what? It wasn’t as bad as all that.
Bright is directed by David Ayer, the guy who wrote or directed good films like Training Day or End of Watch and bad films like Suicide Squad. This one falls in between both. Written by Max Landis, the film is wacky on paper. Picture Training Day, a gritty buddy cop film set in the various projects of Los Angeles. There are gangsters everywhere who want to do some harm to the police. Then add a lot of Tolkien-esque lore to the film.
This world is very much like our own, only there are orcs, elves, dragons, centaurs, fairies and who knows what else in this world as active citizens. The film touches on race, class and social issues surprisingly well, with the elves representing the 1% while orcs are considered scum by many. Humans are right in the middle and that hierarchy plays nicely into the plot. There’s some interesting back story about the Dark Lord and some cool touches to make the world feel alive, such as pro orc graffiti or the fact that there is a magical crimes investigation unit at the Federal level.
Will Smith and his orc partner Nick, played by Joel Edgerton, are the standouts in the film. They have great chemistry together and are the reason you should keep on watching. The rest of the cast feels a bit flat, despite the fact that they are still interesting plot devices. Noomi Rapace is a great actress but she’s given very little to do here as a renegade elf coven leader whose after a magic wand to bring the Dark Lord back. She’s more action than substance. Edgar Ramirez is an magical fed but again, not much else to him.
I think Bright would’ve been much better suited as a mini series or as a new show for Netflix. Two hours just isn’t enough to set up the world and all these characters. But we’ll definitely be getting more as Netflix already green lit a sequel.Here’s hoping it’s more substance over style though!
In the end, I thought Bright was better than everyone else seemed to think it was. Is it for everyone? Nope! Some of the scenes feel like they go on and the middle segment involving the Latino gangsters chasing our heroes down feels dragged out, boring and uninspired. But if you’re a fan of the director, the buddy cop genre or fantasy, try it out!