Thursday, January 4, 2018

Review: Bright

Netflix internally has a lot of different products ranging in genres and mediums. They have highly successful television shows and award nominated movies, but they don't have The Big One. Bright is Netflix's attempt at a big Hollywood blockbuster film.

Coming off Suicide Squad, David Ayer directs this Shadow Run-esque take on Los Angeles where humans and fantasy races coexist. Anyone will absolutely know they're watching a David Ayer film right from the beginning.

If you've liked what David Ayer has written, Training Day, or you've like what he's directed, End of Watch, Harsh Times, Street Kings, then you'll love Bright. If you didn't like any of those movies, you probably won't enjoy Bright.

You will get two cops talking in a car. You will get harsh dialogue. You will get hood life. And by God and Country you will get killer Latino gangbangers.

Bright is about a human cop and an orc cop coming to term with their own differences while keeping a magic wand out of corrupt cops, gangsters, and an elf on the Magic FBI's most wanted list. It's a nightmare night where everything that can go wrong, does go wrong.

Will Smith and Joel Edgerton have quite a bit of chemistry with one another. Much respect to Edgerton who still acts through those heavy layers of makeup and prosthetics. The character of Jakoby really shines through right when he's introduced, and keeps as a strong highlight of the movie.

The rest of the cast is rounded out nicely while portraying their very stereotypical characters. There really isn't much going on with characters except for Smith and Edgerton, but it never feels like there needs to be.

What Bright does have is action. Several fun action scenes take place that never feel the same. Whether it's a gun fight between speeding cars, a shootout in a strip club, or a handcuffed brawl in a convenience store, there is always something looking to entertain the audience.

There are some downsides to the film, besides the very Ayer's direction. Some plot threads introduced early in the film are dropped without warning, which is a shame, since the majority of buildup has an eventual payoff. There are multiple POV sections that go on, but eventually it narrows down to protagonist and antagonist POVs. This means several interesting characters disappear and then reappear near the end.

The biggest issue is even at two hours and 27 minutes, it still feels like there is a piece missing. Something that would connect everything together.

Bright is a solid movie, but just that, solid. Given today's offering of major film products, a solid buddy cop movie was exactly what I wanted.

In relation to other David Ayer directed films, this is certainly above Suicide Squad and Harsh Times, but it never manages to match the grittiness of End of Watch or the crime thriller highs of Street Kings. We're not even going to bring up Sabotage.

Bright has more going on than most films, it has a fun world, and the always entertaining Ayer's eye. With that being said, I liked that this was on Netflix. Perhaps Bright is just as good as any blockbuster going to theaters, but it feels a little too small in scope and structure. There is this difficult feeling to shake that Bright is just a few inches away from really nailing its landing.

I liked it, but I didn't love it. Bright  is a very good rental, so it's right where it needs to be.

If the trailers or anything I've written has peaked your interest, check out Bright. It's as easy as can be and doesn't cost any extra. If you really don't like David Ayer from Suicide Squad or any of the other films he's directed, than you should steer clear.