Reel Reviews | Bright

By Charles Kirkland Jr.

The buddy cop dynamic goes to a whole new dimension in the Netflix movie, Bright.

Welcome to Los Angeles. In this world, fairies and dragons, elves and orcs, all live with humans in this world. Officer Daryl Ward (Will Smith) is returning to duty after being shot in the line of duty. Ward is partnered with the first and only Orc officer, Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) a simple and pure rookie that nobody likes because he’s an Orc. By the way, Nick let Ward’s Orc shooter get away. On the first day back on duty, Ward and Jakoby find themselves in the middle of a fight over a magic wand and an attempt to resurrect The Dark Lord.

Bright is a fantasy action drama written by Max Landis (Mr. Right, American Ultra) and directed by David Ayer (Suicide Squad, Fury). With shows like Stranger Things, the Marvel series’ and the like, Netflix’s television division has been stellar so it makes sense why Netflix would grab onto a movie with this pedigree to bolster its budding film division. The problem is they hitched their wagon to the wrong movie.

While Bright has an interesting concept, its storyline is lacking and confusing. There is no explanation of how this world came to be or why. No explanation of why the relationships are the way that they are between the races. The originality of the concept of this world is quickly lost as the movie devolves into the formulaic buddy cop film much like Lethal Weapon or even another Ayer film, End of Watch. Sure these cops aren’t buddies in the beginning but they are at the end despite all their differences. Sound familiar?

Will Smith’s performance is familiar too. Bright could be Bad Boys 3 in case it is never made. Daryl Ward sounds a lot like a more foul-mouthed and angry Mike Lowry which is certainly fun for those who are dying for that long-awaited sequel. Joel Edgerton (It Comes At Night, Loving) is interesting and unrecognizable as Jakoby, the Orc and serves as the perfect opposite to angry Lowry. Jakoby is uncomplicated and easy going yet he has as many demons to deal with as Ward.

Bright does look good though. Some of the scenes are a little darker than you would expect but the shading and color palette is adequate. Makeup and special effects are the real winners. The Elves and Orcs look very realistic and fairies fly convincingly through the film. There would be no surprise if the film garners an Oscar nomination in these categories.

Bright is rated TV-MA (Television movie designation) for sex and nudity, violence and gore, profanity and intense scenes. The rating is more than justified. Not to sound prudish but every now and then I wonder if a movie was made for the sole purpose of finding out how many “f” bombs they can drop. Bright is one of those. As profane as the movie is, it is also very violent. This is by no stretch of the imagination a movie for children nor some adults especially ones looking to see a Bad Boys sequel.

Grade C-