‘Bright’ offers a new twist to the tired movie cop formula. There have been an incalculable number of police-based movies that it’s hard distinguishing one from the other. ‘Bright’ stands out with a potentially intriguing blend of fantasy and reality. Under David Ayer’s direction, ‘Bright’ shines a new light on the shadowy crime/cop genre.

In the future, humans co-exist with orcs and elves in a world where fantasy creatures exist. Dayl Ward (Will Smith) is an LAPD police officer paired with orc officer Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton). Patrolling the crime ridden streets, the duo become involved in various situations testing their new partnership. Along the way they meet elf Tikka (Lucy Fry) who is hunted down by evil elves including Leilah (Noomi Rapace) who is determined to destroy the world order.

‘Bright’ has a few engrossing elements amongst the predictable screenplay. Among them are the moral codes of orcs and elves which help to establish this unique world. Issues of friendship, loyalty and accepting differences are also aired and delivered in heavy handed fashion. Whenever ‘Bright’ explores the lives of the creatures it fires and further exploration in this area would have made for a more interesting movie.

There’s a somewhat tired feel overall with ‘Bright’ not as impactful as hoped. This is no fault of the performers with Smith and Egerton making for a strong odd couple. Edgerton especially conveys Nick’s stoic strength with Smith providing his usual charismatic patter. The action sequences are top notch, enlivening the often slow and uneven story.

Whilst it gamely attempts to spin a tired genre, ‘Bright’ isn’t as great as hoped. The surface elements are in place but the main body of an arresting plot is largely missing. The cop formula will always be around with the long arm of the law targeting any creature or human in its sights.

Rating out of 10: 6


The Cloverfield Paradox

The ‘Cloverfield’ movies have made an interesting series. ‘Cloverfield’ and ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ had several thought-provoking sci-fi/thriller trappings making for an engagingly suspenseful and exciting duo. ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ attempts to continue their success. Unfortunately it’s derivative of similar films, with the ‘Cloverfield’ name seemingly tacked onto this less than stellar effort.

Suffering a global energy crisis, Earth relies on various space agencies to find an answer. Included is the Cloverfield Station with a crew featuring communications officer Ava (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Jason (David Oyelowo) and Gordon (Chris O’Dowd). While testing a particle accelerator, this action creates a Cloverfield Paradox which opens a portal to another dimension. Attempting to close it, the crew are lured into a universe of danger with time running out to save earth and themselves.

The best thing one can say about ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ is that it looks spectacular. The CGI is utilised well as the space vistas successfully reflect the black danger in which the characters find themselves. The multinational nature of the space station is effectively realised with a strong cast doing their best to enliven mediocre material.

‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ suffers from run of the mill story-telling and pedestrian direction. Both highlight the murkiness of the plotting and leaden pacing. Barely any tension is felt with the crew member’s fates registering little empathy. Whilst the moral dilemmas are thought-provoking, the story never truly follows through on their potential with an explosive finale too little too late.

Third time isn’t so lucky with ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’. It only has scant connection to previous instalments with this entry having a by the numbers feel. Although in space ‘no one can hear you scream’, viewers may scream at frustration in their lounge rooms at this effort with the petals falling off this cinematic rose.

Rating out of 10: 4