What’s up everyone? Mark here. With the holiday season in full swing, movie-going is a bit tricky, so I thought I’d take a quick second to talk about a new film currently streaming online:
This original film by Netflix, starring Will Smith (Daryl) and Joel Edgerton (Nick) as a pair of cops on the beat, dealing with drugs, racial tension, and gang warfare.
They don’t really get along too well, because: race. But they both seem to want to be good cops, despite it seeming as if Nick is only on the force for purposes of a racial quota.
Ultimately, they get involved in something that brings all the gangs, all the races, even dirty cops down on their heads as they try desperately to find someone, someplace, that isn’t crooked to bail them out.
Sounds like a hundred other buddy cop films you’ve seen before, right?
Well, you’d be wrong.
See, Nick is an orc. A vaguely pig-like humanoid familiar to anyone who’s ever played a fantasy RPG. Also existing in this city are elves, fairies, centaurs (blink and you’ll miss it) and other fantastic creatures.
Yes, fantasy, technology, and even magic co-exist in the world Daryl inhabits, and Will Smith spends most of the movie trying to balance his need to make it to retirement against the rumblings against his (unwelcome) partner, who is believed to have allowed the orc that shot Daryl to escape, placing racial loyalties over his duties as a cop and partner. But did he? Is it that simple?
And that “situation” they find themselves tangled up in? Turns out there’s a magic want up for grabs, which can be used by creatures called “Brights” to do, if the murmured rumblings of everyone are to be believed, anything.
What would you do to be able to do anything?
Money, power, health, revenge…
Oh, and it also can also be used to bring back the Dark One, who was defeated 5000 years ago, so there’s that.
One drawback, though. Only a Bright can use the wand, but the only way to know if you’re a Bright is to hold the wand. Not a bright?
Now what would you do? Do you chance it?
A lot of people would, that’s for sure.
Now, this movie may seem a little derivative, and it is, borrowing entirely too many genre tropes to note here, but here’s the rub:
It ain’t bad.
I have to admit, I’m not the biggest Will Smith fan on the planet. I don’t hate him, but I am of the firm opinion that the greatest work he has ever put on film was his two scenes in the otherwise lackluster A Winter’s Tale (watch the movie so you get the context of his character, but consider this your warning that overall, AWT is just meh).
But as Daryl, Smith is really good, playing it mostly straight, except when absolutely appropriate to do otherwise. Edgerton, a talented yet seemingly unrecognized actor, ably depicts Nick as the tormented orc, shunned by his own people for being “unblooded,” but also by the other races due to the orcs having sided with the Dark One millennia ago.
Add into the mix that Netflix seemingly spared no expense in the production of the film, and what we are left with is a high-quality bit of world-building, solid performances, and good execution. I am not surprised to see that Netflix has already ordered a sequel.
Is this film perfect? Of course not.
But it’s fun. It’s a fun fantasy which doesn’t trip over itself, doesn’t talk down to the audience, never takes itself too seriously, and never falls into straight parody or farce.
I’m pleasantly surprised how enjoyable I found Bright.
If you haven’t already, log on and give it a shot.