• 20 Jan - 26 Jan, 2018
  • Farheen Jawaid
  • Reviews

Bright, the latest Netflix movie – also one of its biggest budgeted ones to date – sees Will Smith in the type of role he’s gotten pretty close to in recent years: that of a grumbling, sarcastic ace professional who is also a decent, good-hearted human being. This particular role though adds a unique spin. Smith’s character Daryl Ward, a cop, is somewhat racist.

This might be a contradiction to real life, where bigotry is reserved for hateful white skinned Americans (actually, there are those of that kind in Bright as well), however, since the movie is set in an alternate reality populated by orcs, elves and other magical beings, I guess the orcs– with their hideous pigmentation, gnarly teeth and bad breath (just guessing) – would be next natural race for profiling and instant judgement based on how they look.

If one just keeps this notion into perspective, Bright sounds like a serious piece of cinema. In reality, it is a bland, uninteresting, run-of-the-mill actioner where two cops – Smith and his Orc partner Joel Edgerton – find themselves in bad, bad circumstances involving good spell-casters called Bright, and a magical instrument that can grant wishes or turn people to dust.

The movie, directed by David Ayer (Suicide Squad, Harsh Times, End of Watch and Fury) reminds me of those senseless 80s’ actioners produced by Joel Silver or written by Stephen de Souza (Commando, The Running Man, Judge Dredd). There is a steady roll of momentum, yet some of it – actually make that most of it – doesn’t hold your interest.

This is one minimalist movie in the scope of its story, yet it serves a particular purpose: it is here to launch a franchise. I can actually envision this as a major studio feature, but then again, Netflix right now is also a major force in the online motion picture distribution market.

As mentioned in previous reviews, writer Max Landis (American Ultra, Victor Frankenstein, Chronicle) is more interested in world-building than writing an engaging story, while Ayer repeats the tone and structure from Suicide Squad (which was already a headache-inducing movie).

Even with a lot of shortcomings, Smith and Edgerton – the two main people in Bright – manage to keep you interested within the chaos and the lack of imagination of a movie set in a world of imagination. Ironic, right?

You’ll hate it, and with good reason too, but the star value would have given you a reason to see it in the first place.