“Cool idea, exciting plot – but poorly executed.”
Bright: 2.5 out of 5
As if I needed any more reassurance that one day I can sell a characterless script for 3.5 mil and post up somewhere in Cali and golf for the next decade. That may be a little harsh but what Max Landis finished up with as a final draft for the high action, alternate universe cop thriller was kind of disappointing for me. Only in the sense that I was expecting a lot despite the negative critic reviews that poured in before the release on Netflix in early December. The trailer and the soundtrack had me hyped and I am not the harshest critic when it comes to fantasy movies. But, stories need depth and fluent character building throughout and “BRIGHT” fell short a few times. I will not hesitate spoiling anything in this review because it is mostly negative and in order to shit on something you have to have the facts to back it up.
“BRIGHT” is a cop action/fantasy film that takes place in Los Angeles, in the near future or modern time where Humans, Orcs, Elves and Fairies co-exist. Will Smith and Joel Edgerton play Daryl Ward and Nick Jakoby who have just become partners in the L.A.P.D. as a part of a race diversity program. Nick (The Orc) is trying to establish himself as a true cop rather than join his race and his Orc blood who are at odds with the police and the rest of society. The Orcs have recently been accepted as citizens and are clearly portrayed in a lesser class than the Elves. Then the Humans are just kind of being assholes in the middle of it all. Cool idea, exciting plot – but poorly executed.
Ok, so let me start with what I actually liked or loved about it – because it was most definitely not a total shit show. I thought Joel Edgerton was dope as a 1970’s crooked Boston police officer in “Black Mass” and I thought his performance was the best in this film by a long shot. Sucks, because Will Smith is a legend and I think he just got held down because Max Landis spent so much time developing the world and forgot all about who it was centered around. Anyways, visually, this was most definitely not a letdown. It was the only reason I was entertained throughout. The Orcs were badass and the Elves actually were pretty sweet too. I can bet this will be nominated for makeup or some shit. It was pretty cool seeing LA in an alternate reality but then I just kept getting taken away from it all with some bullshit dialogue that should have been cut after the very first read or some weird ass scene where Will Smith kills 4 cops in front of 30 lazily portrayed Latino gangbangers. Well, here comes the bad. So take a deep breath and listen to some of the shit I thought was simply lazy or clearly miscommunicated between the creatives.
I am about to say something that you will never hear me say ever again. Ever. Again. I almost wish there was less blood… and they rated it PG-13… Ok I just threw up but I am back. So my reasoning behind this is because the story/dialogue was geared towards a children’s demographic (minus the F-Bombs) but the visuals and the gore was geared towards a dark and violent thriller. Then the fact that they were all after what they literally called a “Magic Wand” the whole fucking movie was insane to me. I couldn’t believe they used the term “Magical Wand” that many times. I was fascinated. The creativity was disappointing. I just can’t help but see Max Landis lazily going over these characters and just drawing parallels to shit he sees in LA or on CNN whenever he can’t think of something creative. It just feels like he threw a bunch of cute shit in because it somewhat relates to minority culture and the divide that is going on in America right now. Nothing wrong with addressing those issues, but for me, this was just forced. Then there was the character building… Come on man. That opening scene with Will Smith and his wife was so painful for me to watch for some reason. No chemistry. The blame is on the director, David Ayer, when it comes to something like that in my opinion. It was poorly shot and feels like they shot one take and said fuck it, let’s move on to the dope shit. The worst part about this film was the four or five racist cops that Will Smith interacted with awkwardly multiple times. The casting could not have been worse. Every scene that they were in, it almost felt purposely comical, satirical or over the top. But no, it was again just lazy writing and casting.
I give “BRIGHT” 2 ½ out of 5 stars. I think the communication between everyone fell through when it came to the execution of this film. Not worth a watch unless you throw it on in the background or when trying to pass out. Stay tuned for more Netflix original reviews and I will do my best to not go brain dead. Thanks for reading you drunk cinephiles.
Hate is a weak emotion.