7.3 Overall Score
Performances: 8/10
Production: 8/10
Writing: 6/10

It's a delicious, delicious pair...

of old formulas thrown together.


Director: David Ayer
Writer: Max Landis
Stars: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace

Bad Boys of Middle Earth For Life is a ton of entertaining. The art design is great, the action sequences beautifully choreographed, and the lead actors on their game. I watched it twice.

Will Smith’s trademarked charisma shines in this, but that’s why they hired him. Brad William Henke does a great turn as an orcish “community organizer”. I’ve admired his work before, and admire an actor who can command the screen without the leading man looks of a Downey or a Redford. And Henke does it under the orc makeup.

But it’s Joel Edgerton who takes the prize as Nick Jakoby. Mr. Edgerton makes the LAPD’s first orc cop into a complex, relatable, realistic character, and he does it from under layers of latex.

There are bad things about the film. It’s a formula stacked on a formula fitted with stock characters. Two LAPD cops with contrasting personalities patrol the mean streets, and stumble into a crisis where they have to stop a fanatical cult from summoning a millenia-old dark lord—who is literally called “The Dark Lord”— with a glowing, magical McGuffin. There are several dangling plot threads that one hopes will be taken up again in the sequel, which is already green-lit. There’s a lot of shouting, gunfire, and car chases. But it’s all Grade A shouting, gunfire, and car chases, and I’m going to watch it a third time.

OK, here’s the thing. When I was a young, young man, I paid cash—remember cash?—at a small retail outlet—remember small retail outlets?—for the Shadowrun basic book, in blue. I haven’t let go of that game since. You can see me doing it at The Scribblers’ Rest, on YouTube. I’ve been waiting three decades to see orcs, elves, humans, shotguns, and barrios on the big screen. And when Noomi Rapace appeared looking like all my 6th World dreams, with that karambit, and printed pantsuit…I knew I was in for a dopamine dump, and I got it.

Who wants to titty bar gunfight die? I do.




Brian Downes
Author: Brian Downes View all posts by
Brian Downes is a writer who lives in Orlando, Florida. His novel, The Berlin Fraternity, about a man who hunts vampires for the Third Reich, is available on the Kindle and through He enjoys pen and paper roleplaying games and geek culture. He clearly remembers waiting for The Empire Strikes Back to hit theaters, and vindicate his opinion that of course Vader was not Luke's father. You can't trust Vader's word!

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