Starring: WILL SMITH, JOEL EDGERTON, NOOMI RAPACE, LUCY FRY, EDGAR RAMIREZ
Screenplay by: MAX LANDIS
Directed by: DAVID AYER
Streaming now on Netflix
These words are written directly after watching the first original Netflix 'blockbuster' and I think it's the fairest way to review this movie. What I mean by that is, whilst BRIGHT doesn't suck, it doesn't excel either.
The most important question is: Did I enjoy it? The answer is a big fat yes. Most reviews have been negative toward this movie stating that it is distinctly average, a two out of five star picture. However, if I'd have read the reviews to The 13th Warrior or say Deep Rising then I may not have watched and enjoyed them. It's one of those genre films that is entertaining and yet throwaway at the same time. I had fun!
The central buddy dynamic set-up is straight out of Alien Nation but with Will Smith (in a thankfully snappier turn) and Joel Edgerton there's a different vibe given than what Caan and Patinkin produced and it saves this film from itself. The one-liners sometimes miss their marks and the social commentary being portrayed is ham-fisted and awkward but for the majority of the running time it's light and coarse - the language is unnecessary at times but I have no issue with that!
One of the other major contributors to the feel of the piece is the soundtrack. There seems to be a resurgence in quality studio soundtracks and movie-based music videos - because even if the movie sucks the marketing doesn't have to! Netflix could well be the vehicle for the next wave of original, film-related tracks.
The downside unfortunately is that every other character is seemingly underdeveloped. Noomi Rapace as the villain has a very weak backstory and the gang/cultural politics, the 'Magic Task Force', and the supporting cast would have been better suited to a Marvel-type season rather than a two-hour movie. The mythology just doesn't stick for me. It almost could've been better If there were six to thirteen episodes where timelines could jump and cut to what could be a menagerie of more fleshed-out beings.
That being said, David Ayer is a director that I like immensely. There's a grittiness to his work that is very evident here. It's a definite shift from Suicide Squad for sure. You can tell that there's been no interference from the suits. The screenplay by Max Landis, however, does try to be too cute at times.
News has just broke that Ayer will direct AND write the sequel with both Smith and Edgerton reprising their roles. This is great news as I believe that a sequel will build this story into something of note - it deserves to expand as there are more stories to tell and more worlds to explore.
If you like The Golden Child, Hellboy, its sequel, Will Smith, and B-movies then this movie will suit you down to the ground. Stream it now and let me know your thoughts!