Bright (2017) – Film Review
Director: David Ayer
Cast: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace
by Roger Crow
After months of plugging, Netflix unveiled their highest profile streaming movie to date just before Christmas. Bright has the production values of a major motion picture, the heavyweight star appeal of Will Smith, and a high concept premise: an alternate LA, filled with orcs, elves and fairies.
Will Smith is Ward, the foul-mouthed cop teamed with Joel Edgerton’s Jakoby, the long suffering orc crime buster who spends most of the movie being sworn at, beaten up or worse. Their chalk and cheese partnership forms the backbone of the story involving a magic wand, a dark lord and an endangered elf.
Which is all very Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings, with Ayer’s previous movie End of Watch thrown in and a heroine reminiscent of Leeloo from The Fifth Element. It’s brutal, bloody stuff which for 90 per cent of its running time is hard to stomach. The seemingly endless macho posturing, face-offs with gang members and swearing is so abrasive, I’m worn down by the sheer nastiness of the whole production.
Smith is usually good value for money, but even his charm can’t save this turkey. Edgerton is okay as his sidekick and Noomi Rapace adds malevolence as the big bad.
So, 30 years after Alien Nation posited an LA filled with ETs, and mismatched cops tackling bad guys, this unofficial remake makes that bad film look a lot better. It’s toxic film-making alleviated only by some great photography and flashes of excitement. The whole time I’m watching it I want it to get better, and be less brutal, but it feels like crawling through a two-hour long tunnel of offal.
The only bright bit comes at the end when it’s all over. The music is yawnsome, the script mostly dreadful with the odd decent one-liner from Max Landis, and on the whole it’s a horrible experience. No matter how much you may love the Fresh Prince, or the good ideas, avoid at all costs.