The alarming lesson of Netflix's new Will Smith-toplined, David Ayer-directed human-&-orc buddy cop thriller Bright is that I am, apparently, not Too Old For This Shit.
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I was genuinely curious about Suicide Squad, because I admire many of writer-director David Ayer's films, and because I like the sturdy bad-guys-on-a-dangerous-mission premise in general. (I finally saw William Friedkin's 1977 thriller Sorcerer a few months ago, and I loved it.) But Suicide Squad is at least as awful as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and probably would've been lousy even if a panicked studio hadn't commissioned an edit from a company that specializes in trailers. Anyway, I performed an autopsy for NPR.
While can't endorse the movie, I strongly endorse my friend Neda Ulaby's All Things Considered piece about Kim Yale, who co-wrote many issues of the late-80s Suicide Squad comic with her husband, John Ostrander. He gets shouted out in the movie in the form of a sign for the "John F. Ostrander Federal Building," but Yale does not. I'm glad Neda stepped in to correct the record.
I expected that David Ayer, the writer of Training Day and the writer-director of End of Watch and Sabotage, would make a gritty World War II combat picture. But I was surprised how much an interest his film takes in the plight of women, and its willingness to show American soldiers behaving badly during the "Good War." My NPR review is here.
Both of Sabotage's prior titles, Ten and Breacher, make more sense than the one it ended up with. Actually, the title is no more nonsensical than the convoluted plot of David Ayer's gruesome, vulgar, throughly disreputable dirty-cop thriller. It's only just barely a Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle, which is part of why it's the most satisfying picture he's made in 20 years. I reviewed it for The Village Voice.