Under the Radar

Netflix Makes Christmas Merry and 'Bright'

The media has lied to you about this movie: if you think a dirty cop movie that happens to take place in an alternate-reality LA populated with elves, orc and fairies sounds like a good idea, then you'll love "Bright" (streaming now on Netflix).

The big-budget (rumored to be ($90 million) movie stars Will Smith and Joel Edgerton and directed by David Ayer (bouncing back from "Suicide Squad") working from a script by Hollywood's hot young weirdo screenwriter Max Landis ("American Ultra" and creator of the TV series "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.")

If you're the kind of person who gets upset when someone gets chocolate in your peanut butter, stay far, far away. If Lord of the Rings crossed with Training Day sounds interesting, stream away.

Ayer plays it straight, directing this one like it's "End of Watch or "Training Day." LA is a corrupt and dangerous place and it's impossible to tell if cops have your back or if that gang crew is actually going to help you out of a jam. Except the gangsters are orcs.

There's plenty of mythology and world building going on. Max probably has another ten movies already plotted out in his head. An all-powerful magic wand ("like a nuclear weapon that grants wishes") has shown up on the streets and everyone wants it for themselves. Smith and Edgerton (playing human and orc, respectively) encounter the rebel elf who stole the wand and spend the movie trying to keep it away from the bad guys.

The next time you read some movie writer whining about how Hollywood keeps doing the same old thing, look up their review of this one. They probably don't know what they want.

"Bright" is violent and messy and you've probably already paid for a chance to watch it on Netflix. I expect that it'll hold up to repeated viewings. Let's check back in five years and see if anyone will admit that they didn't like it back in December 2017.

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