01
Feb
18

Bright, Death Note (2017)

Bright

This Netflix original movie comes with an interesting premise: orcs, elves, and magic exist alongside humans in the modern era. Unfortunately, the bland writing does nothing for the concept. It’s a standard buddy-cop movie set in the gritty streets of L.A. But instead of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, we get Will Smith and an orc played by Joel Edgerton. Every character is hugely racist against orcs, and Smith especially comes across as an insufferable asshole. I guess it’s to help you sympathize with Edgerton, but it’s overboard here. They don’t even trade witty one-liners, it’s just non-stop racism and swearing.

The story is rote. Director David Ayer cribs from his own filmography, bringing out every cop movie cliche in the book from dirty cops (like in Street Kings) to two cops trying to escape gang members in the ghetto (like in End of Watch). Smith and Edgerton stumble across a magic wand, and are constantly running from everyone who wants to get it for themselves. It’s mostly Smith and Edgerton surviving shootouts and car chases, and none of them are inventive or memorable. The entire concept of fantasy characters in a modern setting is irrelevant to the story. Something more should have been done to make this stand out, but writer Max Landis was too busy jacking off from creating a cool concept to be bothered to write a compelling plot.

The acting is borderline atrocious. Smith and Edgerton are fine, but everyone else is hammy as all get-out, with Noomi Rapace turning in one of the most over-the-top performances this side of Nicolas Cage. When the credits finally rolled, I was happy to turn Netflix off, and I have no interest in revisiting this world for the already-announced sequel.

Verdict: Shitty

Death Note (2017)

Death Note exists in a lot of mediums from the original manga, to anime, to several live-action Japanese films, and now a Netflix live-action movie. I’ve experienced every version, and there is no doubt that Neflix’s version is by far the worst. Trying to compress 37 episodes (going by the anime) of material into 100 minutes is an impossible task. Plot lines, world building, characters, important scenes, and character development are all tossed by the wayside. How can you even have character development in such a compressed running time?

Light is changed from a brilliant sociopath with a god complex into an average, angsty teenager with misgivings (somewhat) about what he’s doing. His girlfriend Mia is more of a threat than him, and ends up being a more interesting character. L is portrayed accurately, but even he devolves to shouting at everyone when things go sideways. The things that made the original Death Note great are not to be found here.

The backbone of the anime was the cat-and-mouse game between Light and L. In this film, it is gone, with L figuring out Light is Kira immediately, and trying to ram home the conclusion to his investigation as quickly as possible. The movie is too stupid to even follow its own rules. For example, they mention multiple times that the Death Note can only have one owner at a time, and it can’t change hands unless it is separated from Light by seven days. Then, they have Mia stealing pages and killing people left and right, and even L possibly writing Light’s name down at the end, all while Light was in possession of the book within the seven-day window. For fuck’s sake, the filmmakers don’t have the attention span to follow the rules they established thirty minutes earlier.

The ending tries to include Light’s trademark elaborate machinations, but it comes across more as deus ex machina rather than the workings of a criminal genius. All of this happens amid a swirling shit storm of bad acting, corny dialogue, and poor plotting. The only positive thing I can say was Willem Dafoe was perfect as Ryuk, even though his character was watered down from evil/mischievous to boring/asshole. Worst of all, there was no scene of Light eating the potato chip! Total letdown, utter garbage.

Verdict: Shitty

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6 Responses to “Bright, Death Note (2017)”


  1. February 3, 2018 at 12:00 am

    I am still to watch Bright, but I agree wholeheartedly with you re: Death Note, which was awful.

  2. February 5, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    No potato chip!? Thanks for the warning, dodged a bullet there.

  3. 5 Ivor Fairclue
    June 2, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    I have to disagree that the concept of ‘Bright’ is good. It’s all down to personal opinion of course but I think the concept is terrible! And nothing original whatsoever. These themes of orcs, elves, and ‘magic’, etc, have been traditionally used ad nauseum on kids TV forever. We all grew up with this crap. Now that society is sufficiently dumbed-down, these fantasy ideas are no longer only used in the realm of capturing children’s imaginations though because now, fully grown adults can also be reduced to child-like wonder over a bunch of stupid, made-up crap that is not so much about ‘suspending your disbelief’ as it is about bypassing the intellect altogether. I think the same thing every time I see a fully-grown adult reading a fucking Harry Potter book.

    I don’t actually mind suspending my belief at all for a movie, that’s quite normal in fact. Watching a full-grown man parading around in an expensive halloween mask while pretending he’s an ‘orc’ for a whole movie is, however, a level I’m not willing to sink to.

    It’s beyond silly, it’s embarrassing.

    • June 8, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      I take it you aren’t a fan of the fantasy genre, huh? I have nothing against it, and sometimes it can be quite good. It has to be done, well, though. It is so shoddily done in this movie, it just reeks. I don’t think any genre can be “just for kids” and grown-ups should stay away. If done well, all ages can enjoy it. Of course, there is nothing for anyone to enjoy in “Bright.”


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