Netflix's 'Bright: Samurai Soul' Review: Breathtaking action outshines clunky writing
The most fascinating part about the movie is the way it blends animation in Japanese woodblock print style
Spoilers for 'Bright: Samurai Soul'
Netflix's 'Bright: Samurai Soul' stuns thanks to its detailing. It makes death look real. The chopping off of the limbs, the heads, and the blood, splattered all over the screen copiously makes sure it doesn't shy away from its attempt to make the story more believable. The music direction by Jin Aketagawa lends more depth to the characters. The voice cast (we watched the anime spin-off) in English, is still impressive. But the massive letdown comes from the poor narrative.
'Bright' starring Will Smith was a major damp squib. It was that sort of a part fantasy, part sci-fi, and part laughable flick that would leave no memories by the time the end credits rolled, and when the Netflix series says it's based on the live-action feature, there's already a sense of despair. And for what it's worth, the other elements that went into the making of this spin-off helps in getting through the 80-minute film.
Directed by Kyōhei Ishiguro directorial and written by Michiko Yokote, 'Samurai Soul' is set in an alternate version of Japan’s Meiji Restoration era that comprises humans, orcs, goblins, fairies, and elves. The story starts off in the past where two forces war to get hold of a mystical wand that has the ability to bring light into the world or smother it in darkness.
Normalcy is restored after a sacrifice, the darkness is conquered. Years later, in the present, the light and dark engage to get hold of that fabled wand again by hunting down elves. A Rōnin samurai named Izou (Yūki Nomura/Simu Liu), an orc, Raiden (Daisuke Hirakawa), and a young elf Sonya (Shion Wakayama/Yuzu Harada) find themselves in the middle of the deathly war.
The most fascinating part about the movie is the way it blends animation in Japanese woodblock print style. The action is breathtaking and just adds to another reason to watch the anime, but the clunky writing and the ice-thin plot is a letdown. Nomura does some great work with Izou making him one of those strong-silent warriors while Wakayama as Sonya just screeches to perfection in sequences that really require them to bring out the emotion. There aren't many twists and the story is straightforward. In all, this one's for you if you genuinely liked 'Bright'. We'll end this by giving it 2.5/5.
'Bright: Samurai Soul' is available for streaming on Netflix.