Release Date: December 22, 2017
Director: David Ayer
Writer: Max Landis
Cast: Will Smith, Noomi Rapace, Lucy Fry, Joel Edgerton, Veronica Ngo, Jay Hernandez, Edgar Ramirez, Ike Barinholtz, Andrea Navedo, Dawn Olivieri, Chelsea Rendon, Brad William Henke, Nadia Gray, Happy Anderson, Nea Dune, Kenneth Choi, Enrique Murciano, Laura Vallejo, Brandon Larracuente, Chris Browning, Matt Gerald, Elena Sanchez, Alex Meraz, Pleasant Wayne, Luis Moncada, Kevin Vance, Daniel Moncada, Bertrand-Xavier Corbi, Isabella Sanchez, Tiffany Tynes
Runtime: 117 minutes
Production Company: Clubhouse Pictures, Overbrook Entertainment, Netflix
Genre: Action, Crime, Fantasy
Budget: $90,000,000 (estimated)
Bright has a sizable number of things going for it. It’s a mixed blend of blockbusters ranging from Bad Boys, Lord of The Rings, and Running Scared (2006) all balled up into a two-hour frenzy of crazy fun madness. It rebuilds the current world that we know today with legends, fantasy, and magic, while still being able to serve a decent amount of social commentary that’s relevant. It goes without saying that some viewers may be offended by such tropes, but I’m not in that boat. The film is fun, violent, and is action packed with a decent story, and gives a glimpse to the future of new aged film releases.
The story takes place in Los Angeles, California, where not only to Black, Brown, White, and Yellow people must get along, but Humans, Orcs, and Elves as well. Some neighborhoods are segregated based on species, but there are still those that live integrated lifestyles. Insert Ward (Will Smith), a human, and Jakoby (Joel Edgerton), an Orc who are partners for the local police department, and neither are happy about their current situation. The banter between these two during moments of subtly, or in the heat of battle is abundantly hilarious, to say the least. All the comedy was timed perfectly, and there's barely a moment within the film that myself and the rest of the audience weren't laughing (attended a screening).
The story isn't necessarily completely fresh or inventive. The public has heard it before as a dark demonic force wants to rise again, and take over the world, but given the context, thrown into the modern day, it still feels new. The range of power between given species were fascinating. Movie fanatics are used to human's vs. humans in today's society, or magical beasts waging mystic wars thousands of years ago in a fairytale land, but the combination of the two here, and all the interactions, and reactions were quite fascinating to witness, which makes this entire journey stand apart to anything before.
The action within the film is stellar too. It's all well-choreographed, and I felt everyone engaged was giving it there all with no one sitting on the sideline waiting for an outcome. It ranged from hand to hand fights, dog chases down LA streets, and gun blazing from several separate set designs. Don't forget the magic either. That element is present but is one aspect I wish the film contained more of. It's not every day you see modern society fighting over a magic wan being obsessed by its power, and will to go infinite lengths to get a taste of it. In the marvelous maze of everyone trying to be on top, there are countless moments of courage, frailty, honor, loyalty, betrayal, disrespect, and that's only scratching the surface. It's also satisfying that the film answers all the questions at the perfect time right as you would ask them yourself keeping your mind at ease, yet also intriguing at the mystery unfolding in front of you.
As you would imagine, there’s an intense level of universe building and rules that were set early on in the film, advising you of the certain boundaries characters and plot points could uphold. During the first two acts of the film, it all flows smoothly, but towards the end, these rules shatter, and the film starts to fall apart to a somewhat disappointing level. It's a shame especially since what previously came before was so well written within the script; then the film ends with an anticlimactic showdown towards the end. Luckily with the whit and charm of Will Smith, he's able to cross the finish line with random acts of his personality that will leave any viewer full of laughter.
I felt director David Ayer’s (End of Watch, Fury) stamp of style all over this film. He's a man that has a strong talent for pacing a film correctly and pulling you to the edge of your seat during when you would least expect it. Even though I walked away from the film itching for a little more, it's still a film I would love to visit again, to address all the current societal easter eggs that are layered through every scene of this film.