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Set in a world where mystical creatures live side by side with humans. A human cop is forced to work with an Orc to find a weapon everyone is prepared to kill for.

The bottom line

Finally we have the answer to the question: What would David Ayers film End of Watch look like if he re-made it as a mash-up with the 80s film Alien Nation. Sadly, the result isn’t all that entertaining.

Anyone with a passing knowledge of either film will find Bright to be just that little bit too familiar feeling to happily go along for the ride. But what really sinks this film is its budget. Netflix reportedly paid approximately $100 million for the film to release exclusively on the streaming service, but the film just doesn’t feel big enough to be worth that price tag. One leaves the film wondering if it would have felt a lot more vibrant as a $10 million Blumhouse picture,  without the weight (and financial expense) of an actor like Will Smith in the lead role.

Stars

Will SmithJoel EdgertonNoomi Rapace, Lucy Fry

What do you need to know

The film feels a hell of a lot like David Ayers previous work – particularly End of Watch, but a lot of the films he has written and/or directed have strong roots to the streets of Los Angeles. Layering in the strong mystical and fantasy elements gives the film a sense of a pastiche rather than belonging to Ayers body of work. Max Landis’ script doesn’t play it for cuteness, but it does feel like less would be more as far as the magical elements of the film are concerned.

Where the aforementioned Alien Nation used its extra-terrestrial characters as stand-ins for immigrants assimilating in America, Bright treats it clumsily more broadly with its non-human characters as proxies for Latino’s. It comes across as heavy-handed, but also doesn’t really have very much to say.

What should you watch out for

The supporting cast is actually nicely packed with a lot of familiar faces. Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors, The Mindy Project) plays against type in a semi-serious role as a cop, with other actors including Kenneth Choi (Wolf of Wall Street, American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson), Brad William Henke (Lost, Going To California), Edgar Ramirez (Carlos), and comedian Margaret Cho.

You’ll enjoy this if you also liked…

End of Watch, Suicide Squad

What the critics have said

“For all its flaws, Bright is still a headlong leap into a bracingly different new world. Cinema could do with more of that.”
Steve Rose, The Guardian

“So when you don’t even have thrills and chills, you really can’t forgive the total lack of characterisation, hammy dialogue, muddled subplots or the fact its female lead spent 90 minutes simpering in elfish only to then do a 180 for a hero moment that is unearned — the whole concept of “character development” seems to have vanished.”
Wenlei Ma, News.com.au

“There’s boring, there’s bad, and then there’s “Bright,” a movie so profoundly awful that Republicans will probably try to pass it into law over Christmas break.”
David Ehrlich, Indiewire

Dan Barrett

Dan Barrett is the Editor of Always Be Watching and is a big fan of 1980s sitcom Cheers. Prior to Always Be Watching, he produced the website and podcast Televised Revolution, was the Deputy Editor of Mediaweek Australia, and was the TV critic for Radio National’s Breakfast show.

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