Best described as a buddy cop thriller with a twist, Bright is actually a very successful experiment. You can already hear the pitch meeting for this movie. Like we want to make something that feels like a blockbuster movie but different. You know, we’re like, different, ’cause we’re like, Netflix. So, why don’t we take your classic eighties buddy cop dynamic and just plop it into a magical world of orcs and elves? Despite how commercial and unfeasible this endeavor may sound, Richard Avery and Max Landis found a way to make it work. Of course, David Ayer is the guy behind some of the best modern cop movies like Training Day, Dark Blue, and End of Watch. However, S.W.A.T. feels like the closest match to this one with its entertaining vibe.
Apart from the surreal setting, everything else about Bright will be familiar. The story, characters, and obstacles they must overcome have been seen in many other movies. However, stylish visuals and solid storytelling is bound to keep your attention. There are also all these little details that will help you with that. For example in one of the early scenes, Daryl watches an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience with ye olde DMT Joe talking to an orc. Bright builds this strange world and feels more like a beginning of a television show than a movie. I think they needed to work harder on some of the background issues and offer us more exposition. Instead, we get fleeting zing moments and we’re off to the next scene. It also tries too hard to be funny and entertaining coming off as cringy at times.
Welcome to the world of parallel tomorrow! This is the world where humans, orcs, elves, and other fantasy creatures live side by side. Not so peacefully but still there’s no open war or something. We follow Daryl Ward, an experienced cop who just got a new partner who happens to be an orc. Officer Nick Jakoby is the first orc cop as powers that be are hoping to smooth the relationship between humans and orcs. However, our two cops will have more pressing issues to resolve as they stumble upon a huge conspiracy.
The movie you’re instantly going to think of when you play this movie is District 9. Neill Blomkamp’s masterpiece deals with pretty much the same issues only from a different angle. Bright is more focused on the entertainment and flashy gimmicks. Flashy gimmicks that are quite effective if I might add. This is one of the early Netflix fantasy/science fiction projects. More recently we had the opportunity to check out movies like Project Power, Space Sweepers and In the Shadow of the Moon. These are all solid movies well worth your time and attention. However, they are not masterpieces and after one viewing you will forget all about them.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. If you watch a lot of movies they are perfect for filling the gaps between great ones. Will Smith and Joel Edgerton were pretty good here along with versatile Noomi Rapace. Plus, it’s always good to see Happy Anderson doing what he does best. Finally, if you liked Bright you might want to take a look at Code 8, a more serious and engaging thriller set in an alternate world full of supernatural things. And you can check out our Rabbit Reviews selection of Police Movies.
Director: David Ayer
Writer: Max Landis
Cast: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Edgar Ramírez, Lucy Fry, Veronica Ngo, Happy Anderson
Fun Facts: The orkish “love song” that Jakoby refers to is actually “Hammer Smashed Face” by Cannibal Corpse.