Bright (2017)

The future's not so Bright

Director: David Ayer
Runtime: 117 Minutes
Starring: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Édgar Ramírez, Lucy Fry, Ike Barinholtz, Happy Anderson, Dawn Olivieri, Matt Gerald, Margaret Cho, Brad William Henke, Jay Hernandez

The first blockbuster film released by Netflix, Bright is set in a world where mystical creatures live side by side with humans. Daryl Ward (Will Smith) is an LAPD officer paired up with the first Orc officer, Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton). Responding to a disturbance, they come across a magic wand; a weapon everyone is willing to kill for. Described as a nuclear weapon that grants wishes, it's ultimately a plot device which glows blue, and acts as a device to conveniently get our leads out of trouble. If only it had the capacity to break the fourth wall, and grant this film with a better script.

The concept is intriguing enough, attempting Training Day populated by beings of Warcraft, while attempting to deliver relevant social commentary. The potential is there, but Max Landis drops the ball, as his script makes such a haphazard mess of it. Despite the mystical elements, it feels lacking in originality. One could've taken any other buddy cop film, like End of Watch, given it a magical skin, some mystical plot devices, and gotten the same film. Not helping things are how convenience and outright laziness regularly go hand in hand, while the attempted moments of humour land with a thud.

Image result for bright 2017 film youtubeThe worst part are the heavy handed attempts at social satire. The Elves serve to represent the 1%, but little is actually done with this aspect. The Orcs are a surrogate for the Black community, which is abundantly clear by them wearing hoods, being openly discriminated against by cops, and especially a scene where Orcs are being detained with excessive force. It's a lazy substitution, and brings up problems. If the Orcs are ostracised from everybody, including the Black and Mexican communities, why do they dress as gangbangers? It would've been better to be more unique in regards to the Orc community, like when Nick describes a heavy metal song as one of the best love songs written.

Despite being caked in prosthetic work, Joel Edgerton's charisma and likeability shines through as Jakoby. He'd have made for a better lead character than Ward, a by the numbers lead character with a rote character arc of overcoming his prejudices against his partner. Noomi Rapace and Édgar Ramírez make little impression in their Elven roles, with Rapace being just a thinly written conduit for the yawn inducing action scenes.

A clumsy mess that expresses its ideas in the most chaotic of ways, Bright makes for a painful watch. With a sequel already on the horizon, the future is far from bright, especially with the murky cinematography.

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