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Nerdbot Movie Review: Bright

Bright is an ambitious mash-up of cop drama and fantasy elements that takes place over one night in the Los Angeles backdrop. Did Netflix drop the ball putting 90 million dollars into a mash-up of what is essentially Training Day and Lord of the Rings? Lets take a look…

Mash-ups are a risky venture, plain and simple. We’ve had examples throughout the years such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and Cowboys vs. Aliens, which according to Hollywood, are box office failures. So who’s to say that a mash-up of Cops and World of Warcraft couldn’t work? Well, it doesn’t. Some things just don’t go together, like a pickle and peanut butter sandwich.

I was introduced to a world where orcs, fairies, elves and humans co-exist, in the gang-ridden city of Los Angeles. From the beginning I felt as if at some point the narrative would change on how or when this happened. It never came, nor was it mentioned in any context between the characters. It was just assumed that, as the viewer, I had to just accept it for what it is. This is a problem for me, especially when it’s an outrageous idea to bring the fantasy elements into a present day scenario where we have these pre-existing issues. Racism and stereotyping is brought up several times throughout the movie, but never delves into why the Elves are the 5% and the Orcs are bottom feeders.

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The director here is David Ayer, who is no stranger to the cop milieu, but to the fantasy lands. He not only wrote the Denzel Washington classic cop drama Training Day, but also End Of Watch with Jake Gyllenhaal. He is no stranger to the harsh, tense day-to-day situations cops go through, and keeps to his story telling ways in Bright. The intensity is present with car chases, explosions, guns, and I mean ALOT of guns, and the gang culture surrounding Los Angeles. If this was just a cop drama, it would’ve been a decent watch. Mixing fantasy elements, I believe, ruined what this movie could’ve been. A 12 episode series would’ve flushed out the characters, and given insight to the stereotypes not explained to us in the movie, as well as the tension between the different races.

The only redeeming quality of the movie is Will Smith’s portrayal of veteran cop Daryl Ward. Smith is intense with some sarcastic humor thrown in, believable as a cop. Joel Edgerton plays Smith’s rookie partner Nick Jakoby, and even under all the prosthetic makeup, is able to give a decent performance as an orc-cop.

I give this movie a 6/10

Did you think it was a successful endeavor by Netflix? Do you like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches? Let Nerdbot know in the comments below!!!!!

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