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Geek Review: Bright (Netflix)

The buddy cop genre has been around for ages and once you’ve thrown Will Smith (Bad Boys) and director, David Ayer (Training Day), into the mix, you know Bright is bound for greatness. We know, you’re thinking Suicide Squad, but this is different.

While some might argue the genre is one that has become tired, it’s a good formula that pays dividends. Even Zootopia gave it a good spin and it worked. So when Lord of the Rings meets modern day Los Angeles, what’s there not the love?

Right from the get-go, we’re introduced to an alternate, modern world where elves, orcs, humans and fairies have been living together for thousands of years. Our tag team is partners who are not necessarily friends. Human Daryl Ward (Will Smith) got shot once while his partner, Orc police officer Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) was buying a burrito, and these two street cops have more than just a good amount of history between them – they are also a case study for mankind’s unhappiness with non-human races.

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Being the token diversity hire, our insight into Jakoby is that life isn’t exactly cakewalk considering all his fellow cops are gunning for him to screw up. Jakoby’s reputation amongst his fellow orcs is not anywhere as rosy as well. Caught in the middle, the audience will find themselves relating towards the orc police officer as he tries to do what is right by his uniform and what is right by his race.

Ward, being the average street cop, wants to do right by his partner and make do with the cards life has dealt him Ward lets loose. He doesn’t want an Orc for a partner, but he does not have a choice. Delivered with some great lines and defensive humour, this is Will Smith at his best, without being too funny.

Giving audiences no time to absorb the sights and sounds of modern-day fantasy infused Los Angeles, we quickly learn that Jakoby let Ward down by allowing the shooter to get away. This helps Bright set the stage of animosity between our two leads, and when push comes to shove, who will betray the other?

The routine policing stuff that Ward and Jakoby experience on a daily basis helps set the stage for some of the finest Will Smith quips we’ve come to love him for. Joel Edgerton does well to repel and riposte some of Smiths verbal jabs with good comebacks of his own. It’s this shared chemistry between these two characters that make Bright so enjoyable to watch outside of all the action scenes. And there’s plenty of that once Ward and Jakoby land their hands on a magic wand.

Similar to how everyone wants to get their hands on the One Ring, the magic wand in Bright plays a similar role. This places our police duo constantly on the run and keep it from falling into the wrong hands. And by wrong hands, it might seem that in the world of Bright, everyone is a bad guy and only our lead characters can do no wrong.

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Once the bullets start flying, plenty of questions start to arise but because we are starting from ground zero, Bright gives us plenty of opportunities to build the world and allow viewers to fill it all in their head. We’re constantly thrown with plenty of nomenclature terms which actually do nothing in the current context and it can get quite confusing as the movie forges ahead.

Thankfully, these terms don’t really matter as the action on screen is pretty straightforward. If anything, this movie is exactly what Shadownrun might actually look like if it was made into a movie. We’re missing quite a few fantasy races visible and even more use of magic on screen but all the building blocks are there for the sequel to exploit.

Yes, a sequel has been greenlit and Will Smith will be back into the fray. Truth be told, there is plenty of world-building here, and much of it would be better developed as a TV series, but Bright works as a quick teaser of what’s to come. Heck, Bright builds its world much better than the first Hunger Games or Twilight ever did.

It would be actually quite tempting to draw parallels between the real world and the setting found in Bright. And that’s where it might ruin your enjoyment of the movie. Taken straight up, Bright is an enjoyable, action-packed flick which leaves plenty for the imagination to fill. Granted it’s not the most cranial of movies, trying to make sense of the show in some form of societal commentary is not a good idea at all.

If the real world is already has screwed up as it is, finding a deeper meaning with Bright is not going to answer any questions to real life issues.

What we get is plenty of world building and Bright does leave us wanting plenty more. The great thing is that the Bright universe can even do without Will Smith to lead the charge. We could even follow someone from within the law enforcement to spin off a Bright: Miami. The potential of how far this world can go is honestly pretty, bright.

GEEK REVIEW SCORE

Summary

It’s unfortunate that some reviewers are blasting this movie, and giving accolades to films that don’t deserve it. Bright is a character-driven film that makes us question our loyalties and treatment of other races, and establishes a world that deserves a second visit.

Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10
  • Story - 7/10
    7/10
  • Direction - 7/10
    7/10
  • Characterisation - 8/10
    8/10
  • Geek Satisfaction - 8/10
    8/10
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