That old Hollywood standby, the venerable buddy cop movie, may have met its anguished demise this holiday season. Will Smith just killed it.

Virtually every permutation of the genre has been done. We’ve seen black cops teamed up with white cops, black cops with black cops, a white cop and a Latino cop, an Irish cop with a Yank cop, two women cops, and human cops with dog cops.

The category will likely not survive the latest: a human cop teamed up with an Orc. An Orc, along with Elves, Fairies and at least one Centaur. Even with Smith being his most charming singular Smith, Bright is a total mess.

To prepare for writing Bright, it seems Max Landis decided to throw every cop film cliche into a Cuisinart, put it on the high setting and leave the top off.

This film is what happens when Harry Potter throws up on Training Day, 16 Blocks, The Wire, 48 Hours and Police Academy.

It opens in an alternate reality of South Central Los Angeles — a gritty, graffiti-covered, gang-infested patrol area that includes Orcs in thick gold chains and sweatsuits drinking liquor in front of burning barrels and listening to rap.

Smith’s Officer Ward has just returned to the job after being shot and is assigned to reunite with his rookie partner, Nick Jakoby, the first Orc to serve with the LAPD.

Jakoby is played by Joel Edgerton and he is made to look like a hunk of Roquefort cheese rotting on an August afternoon.

Because Orcs have in the past been horrible to humans, Jakoby faces bitter resentment from fellow officers, who call him a diversity hire. He also is hated by his own kind, who consider him a turncoat.

So we are left to wonder if he’s a cop first or an Orc first. It’s a tough spot to be in, made worse because nobody likes the police. Why does Ward stay on the job? You guessed it, he’s five years from his pension.

At this point, the film might have explored racism and systemic profiling by having different otherworldly species represent whites, black, Latinos and Asians. But that’s not Bright.

Instead, the film doubles down on the fantasy, embarking on a city-wide nonsensical search for a rare magic wand. Cue the car chases, over-the-top gang members, throat slitting, martial arts moves, torture and gas station explosions.

Did we really just say ‘wand’? Yes indeed, this alternate LA reality may have Uber, former Fear Factor host Joe Rogan, Toyota Corollas and topless bars, but it also has a dark prophecy, renegade Elves, a Magic Task Force and a wand that has enormous power.

Only a Bright, a person with supernatural abilities, can use it correctly. They might not even know they are a Bright. You can see where this film is going even without being very bright.

David Ayer is the director and he’s had a role in other buddy cop films, helming End of Watch and writing Training Day. This, though, is a laboured affair with little stylistic coherence.

The scenes fit poorly together and the humour is forced. Though it’s supposed to span a day and night, it rains whenever the film needs that Blade Runner brooding wet darkness, a manipulative touch.

Actually, there’s not an original thing in the film, with the possible exception of a foosball table being used to try to kill an Elf.

But the soundtrack seems nice, with songs by Logic, Meek Mill, alt-J, Machine Gun Kelly, X Ambassadors, Camila Cabello, Portugal. The Man and A$AP Rocky.

Things go seriously off the rails as the film lurches to its conclusion. Smith seems to know how bad the film is so he agrees to have his face hit repeatedly, leaving it puffy and bloody. Perhaps he hopes no one can recognise him anymore.

But there’s no escaping the truth. This film makes his misfire Wild Wild West look like The Godfather. Plus, he knows he just buried the buddy cop film genre. You’ll never see two cops swapping snide comments in the front seat of a cruiser again.

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Cristiano Pallotto
If you have any question about a movie, just ask Cristiano. He has seen them all. A movie-nerd that collects DVD´s and spend his time in front of the TV or at the cinemas.

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