Bright is Netflix’s cop movie. Written by Max Landis and directed by David Ayer, is a buddy cop music with random magic bullshit.
The film starts off with pans of several different murals on police brutality, establishing itself instantly as having a political agenda. It then cuts to the main characters, Ward (played by Will Smith) and Nick (played by Joel Edgerton) who are polar opposites. This is a buddy cop movie after all. We get some scenes where Ward, and the rest of the police force, express their disapproval towards Nick because he is an Orc. If you haven’t noticed by this point that no one likes the Orcs, you haven’t been paying attention. The murals, the random scenes of police violence against Orcs, and the racial slurs specific for Orcs are a huge tip. This film will take every chance it gets to remind you that no one likes the Orcs.
As most buddy cop films go, Nick and Ward are stuck with each other. They are assigned to the one mission that changes their relationship forever. On this particular mission they stumble upon a Bright named Tikka. A bright is someone who can use magic, and most importantly, wield a magic wand. A wand can only be handled by a Bright and has infinite power. The rest of the movie is about the two cops trying to get the Tikka and wand to a safe place while they try desperately to survive. So think The Warriors but with magic bullshit.
My gripe with this movie is that there are so many useless scenes that could be cut out. The scenes with Ward’s family have no purpose but to take up time. The scene with his daughter is awkward and the sound was horrible and had no reason at being in the movie. The family disappears by the end of the movie and you forget Ward has a family. And of course, all the pointless scenes of police brutality, while some are necessary, there were a lot of random ones. They really want you to know that this is a movie about police brutality.
What makes this movie particularly hard to get into is that it expects the audience to know how the universe works. If you don’t have the slightest bit of knowledge about fantasy, you will be lost. Even if you have some exposure to fantasy you will find yourself lost as the film does a terrible job creating its own Universe. The fantasy element felt extremely forced because they kept making up fantastical elements as the film progressed and by the end of it, it created more questions than it answered.
I feel that the fantasy element was a cop out. A way they could address police brutality and racism without getting in trouble. As a film that starts off with a clear political agenda, this wasn’t a good move. It is a safe way to gloss over real controversial issues that should be addressed, but this isn’t the film that will start the appropriate conversations. In the end, it is about race but not really. And the police brutality and corruption scenes are done way better elsewhere.
Another issue this movie has is that it doesn’t have any tension. It keeps derailing the action and tension with magic bullshit and very vague world creation. You do not feel anxious for the main characters as they try to make it through the night that you feel in other movies of this genre. Instead what you get is very slow scenes that drag on way too long and the whole time I wish I was watching Dred.
The only saving grace was the banter the two cops shared. Will Smith has some great lines in this. Joel Edgerton does a good job as nick. But this is only temporary as this movie doesn’t merit a second watch. The third time around I was extremely bored, and the scenes stopped being funny.
You can probably skip this one. If you want to check it out, it’s not terrible. I did enjoy it the first time I watched it but it really doesn’t stay good. It tries too hard to be political that it distracts from the main plot and in the end it is too slow for the genre it tries to be. I’ll give it a 5 out of 10, which for my experience with Netflix originals is high.