NETFLIX reportedly paid $90 million for this Will Smith supernatural cop action drama. It should ask for a refund.
NETFLIX reportedly paid $90 million for the rights to Bright, a supernatural cop action drama starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton.
It should ask for a refund.
One imagines that there must’ve been something compelling in the original pitch that screamed: “Yeah this is totally worth double the GDP of Tuvalu.”
Maybe Netflix thought there was going to be a franchise opportunity, or maybe it thought any movie with Will Smith on the poster was a guaranteed return on investment. How disappointed it must be with the pile of centaur droppings Brightturned out to be.
Even with a horrible movie, you’re always looking for something redeemable, like how Assassin’s Creed has some pretty awesome parkour stunts or that Baywatch still made it seem like its actors had a fun time shooting the movie though watching it was less so.
You’d struggle to find something in Bright — there’s like, maybe, one sequence of banter between Smith’s Ward and Edgerton’s Nick that didn’t make you want to scoff. But it’s right at the end and you’d have to make it through 110 minutes of epic eye-rolls to get there, and the thing with streaming is there is no obligation to sit through it all — it’s not like you paid $22 to walk through the cinema door.
In an alternate universe, creatures such as elves, orcs and centaurs coexist alongside humans.
There’s a social strata where the elves are the richie rich folk and the orcs, because of a bad decision 2000 years ago, are treated like second-class citizens. In case you could’ve possibly missed it, the orc discrimination is supposed to be a parable for modern-day racism. Because, you know, they’re like a race that’s discriminated against. Anyway, you get it.
Smith’s Ward is a human cop on the LAPD and he’s been saddled with Nick, his orc police partner — the first orc LAPD member actually — in an effort to promote diversity. But no one wants Nick around because, again, they’re a bunch of racists. Anyway, you get it.
One night, they respond to a call at a house that turns out to be lair of some secret magic society who are trying to bring back a bad dude, creatively named the Dark Lord, who wants to lay waste to the world and enslave everyone left standing.
At this creepy house, Ward and Nick chance upon loads of dead bodies and a frightened young elf named Tikka (Lucy Fry) who’s trying to keep a magical wand away from Leilah (Noomi Rapace), an evil elf who’s supposed to do this Dark Lord-resurrection business.
Oh, and there are some ultimately completely inconsequential federal agents chasing them. Plus, copious over-explaining of everything that happens, in case your IQ dropped 40 points since you started watching the movie.
The wand is a MacGuffin — it’s just an excuse to set in motion a series of violent events. Like, lots and lots of violence. But not even stylish and visually inventive violence.
While we should all know better than to expect much from director David Ayer (Suicide Squad), he, usually, at least gets the action right. In Bright, it’s boring and repetitive — some stabby, stabby over here, some bang, bang over there. Oops, you’re dead.
So when you don’t even have thrills and chills, you really can’t forgive the total lack of characterisation, hammy dialogue, muddled subplots or the fact its female lead spent 90 minutes simpering in elfish only to then do a 180 for a hero moment that is unearned — the whole concept of “character development” seems to have vanished.
Edgerton usually makes better choices than this so you have to think the script wasn’t a total trainwreck at the beginning. A cop drama/supernatural mashup might have been an ambitious proposition but the execution was a total mess.
Do yourself a favour and skip it — weeding the garden for two hours will be more enjoyable than Bright.
Bright drops on Netflix on Friday, December 22.
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