You have to pay attention to the opening credits of Netflix’s newest original film, Bright. If you’re not paying attention, you might just think this is another run of the mill buddy cop movie in Los Angeles.
The music is right; the setting is right; even the graffiti is right…no, wait it isn’t. Yeah, that graffiti is definitely not what you usually see in an urban cop movie. Oh the sentiments are right, but some of the words will catch you off guard.
“In the beginning God created all races equal, but Elves are more equal…”
“Orcs fight for you…who fights for us?”
“The Dark Lord will return!”
“Curse the police!”
See what I mean? Bright is anything but your average buddy cop movie set in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles.
Written by Max Landis (American Ultra, Victor Frankenstein) and directed by David Ayer (Suicide Squad), Bright imagines a world where orcs, fairies, elves, and a whole host of other fantasy beings live alongside humans.
Will Smith plays Daryl Ward, a Los Angeles street cop whose partner, NIck Jakoby played by Joel Edgerton, is the first ever orc cop in the world.
The streets are brutal here. Humans hate the orcs because of their violent past.
Orcs hate the humans for never letting them forget it. And the Elves, well, they watch it all from the lofty social heights of their exclusive clubs and neighborhoods.
Ayer and the cast tackle the problems of racism head-on under the guise of these fantastic beings. It’s a lesson that is all too timely and is portrayed honestly without the heavy handedness of other films.
Ward and Jakoby have a shaky partnership at the best of times.
So when a routine call turns bloody and they discover an Elf woman with a powerful magic wand that everyone wants to get their hands on, they have to find a way to really work together for the first time.
The setup, in any other hands, might prove disastrous but Landis supplied a solid script and Ayer knocked it out of the park. Every piece fits together beautifully.
Smith is no stranger to these kinds of roles and he settles into it with the confidence of a man who knows what he’s doing while Edgerton brings an endearing honesty to Jakoby.
Their partnership is awkward, uncomfortable, and instantly likable from the first moments we see them together. I found myself genuinely invested in the partnership and rooting for them to succeed.
The supporting cast is equally skilled. Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is fiendishly tenacious as the Elf Leilah, who wants to use the wand to raise the Dark Lord of the world’s Elvish lore to wipe out their enemies while Edgar Ramirez is a quiet storm of intention as Kandomere, an Elf who works with the FBI’s Magical Task Force to keep dangerous weapons like this wand out of the hands of her and others like her.
Lucy Fry (Vampire Academy) is equal parts vulnerable and powerful as Tikka, the Elf who holds the wand and is hunted by both while under the protection of Ward and Jakoby.
Meanwhile, Brad William Henke turns in a stellar performance as Dorghu, an Orc who grew up in an area in Miami where all the races seemed to get along.
After moving to Los Angeles and seeing that this was hardly the case, he decides to hand out his own form of justice, running an Orcish organization that’s one part mafia and one part street gang.
Say what you want about David Ayer and his films, but the man knows how to bring together a soundtrack that rocks and Bright is no exception.
With tracks by Snoop Dogg, Bastille, Grey, Ty Dolla Sign, Sam Hunt, and so many more perfectly pitched to enhance the emotion, tension and humor of each scene. David Sardy’s score complements the songs to create a cohesive and unique sound for the film.
With a $90 million budget, Bright is currently the most expensive film that Netflix has produced and it shows.
Special effects, make-up effects, set designers and dressers, and all the rest brought their A-game to this film so that every creature, every place, and every situation felt absolutely real.
Bright is available today exclusively on Netflix, and fans will be happy to know that it will also be the first Netflix original with a planned sequel which was signed for before the release of this first film!