Will Smith's Netflix film stunt performer slams choppy cut
Kimberly Shannon Murphy, a stunt performer in Will Smith's Netflix film "Bright," slammed the staccato cuts in key sequences.
While more than five years have passed since the premiere, stunt performer Kimberly Shannon Murphy has been getting more candid about Bright's choppy cuts. The Netflix film stars Will Smith as a human LAPD officer in a world where humans and mythical creatures coexist, forced to team up with orcs and protect an elf girl with a dangerous wand. Bright, directed by Suicide Squad's David Ayer, received negative reviews from critics when it debuted in 2017, though it proved to be a ratings success on Netflix.
In the latest episode of Corridor Crew's "Stuntwomen React" video series, Kimberly Shannon Murphy reflects on her time working on Will Smith's Netflix film Bright.
The stunt performer is voiced in the pivotal action scene between Lucy Fry's Tikka and Noomi Rapace's Leilah at the gas station Her disappointment with the choppy editing of the film was overcome. Despite her extensive training to expertly perform aerobatics on a car just three feet from the ceiling, the scene was eventually cut to look like three different stunts. See what Murphy explains below:
I doubled Lucy Fry and we did a stunt, talk about cutting things up and making me angry. You can see me rehearsing it, and then you can see what they actually put in the film. We shot it with six cameras, I did it 22 times. The stunt was we were in this gas station, the ceilings are 12 feet high, this car comes crashing through the glass, and she basically jumps over the car, goes upside down over the car, grabs the gun behind her and does a flip. So I had four people on my line, and everybody was doing something different. So, I was in a goo trap, which is what we call it when the wire [is put diagonally around you] so it helps you go this way and flip. I basically had three feet in between the ceiling and the hood of the car, it was kind of one of those things where everything had to go right, because everyone’s pulling. One person was lifting me off the ground, another person was flipping me over, another person was helping me do the backflip. By take three, I’m like, “Are we good?” It was kind of one of those really sketchy things, and the way they cut it up was you couldn’t even see that we actually did the stunt.
How Hollywood Stunts Have Improved Since Bright
Interesting that Brett came shortly after another Al misfire DC Universe's The Expendables was similarly met with generally negative reviews from critics, many of whom felt its choppy editing was a hindrance. The writer/director has since spoken in his and the film's defense multiple times, pointing to Warner Bros. as the ultimate cause of the film's editing and story department problems.
Even outside of Bright, some action films of the early 2010s came under fire for their very staccato edits stripped of even the most basic sequences and more elaborate choreography. The most famous of these is Taken 3, in which Liam Neeson jumping over a fence required 15 cuts to complete, despite only occupying 6 seconds of screen time. More recently, G.I. Joe's prequel film "Snake Eyes" has also been criticized for its staccato editing, which removes style from martial arts moves.
While films like Bright may still have this problem, many Hollywood productions have begun to correct the staccato editing mistakes of the past to better present heart-pounding action. Since the launch of the John Wick series, directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch Known for his well-choreographed and shot action sequences, as well as for producing similarly successful projects, some of which include Nobody and Bullet Train. While Bright 2 may no longer be moving forward, we can hope that Ayer brings those lessons to his work on Jason Statham-led The Beekeeper.