But after the opening, Smith's character Daryl Ward, a veteran street cop nearing retirement and coming off an injury-leave following a near-fatal shooting, climbs behind the wheel of a cop car with his partner Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) and the movie descends into a by-the-numbers "one bad night" plot about a magic wand and an elf on the run. (Noomi Rapace is also around to play the villain who wants the wand for... some reason.) Yes, Jakoby is an orc -- the first orc to ever serve in the LAPD -- and tense, "shut up" filled banter between the two cops is meant to give the movie a touch of allegory to it.
Some context: In the world of Bright, Elves wear fancy clothes and live in a secluded, wealthy section of the city, while Orcs are demonized, oppressed, and live in more low-income areas. It's a clumsy metaphor complicated by the fact that Ayer doesn't really attempt to square the fantasy creature stereotypes with the racial stereotypes the characters occasionally alludes to (and, in some unfortunate cases, embody) at certain points. There's dialogue about "diversity hires" and orcs being good at football that's supposed to scan as funny -- or insightful -- but mostly just feels dumb. Not "fun" dumb either. It's dumb dumb.