Review: Green Hornet

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Genre: Comedy Action Superhero
Directed by: Michel Gondry
Staring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou and Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz
Released: January 14th, 2011

THE GENERAL IDEA

Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is the son of LA’s most prominent and respected media magnate and perfectly happy to maintain a directionless existence on the party scene – until his father (Tom Wilkinson) mysteriously dies, leaving Britt his vast media empire. Striking an unlikely friendship with one of his father’s more industrious and inventive employees, Kato (Jay Chou), they see their chance to do something meaningful for the first time in their lives: fight crime. But in order to do this, they decide to become criminals themselves – protecting the law by breaking it, Britt becomes the vigilante The Green Hornet as he and Kato hit the streets.

THE GOOD

This movie was very entertaining in a lot of ways. The dynamic between Hornet and Kato has always been that Hornet has the good intentions and frontline appeal, while Kato does the real work posing as his driver and manservant. It works really well in this and you feel that tension that Kato knows he is the real unsung hero here.

Rogen surprised me. Despite seeing recent images of his slimmed down form, I still didn’t want to buy him as a superhero and they dont try to make him one. He has the most noble of intentions (laced with a bit of a deathwish) and they don’t make him give up his aloof personality overnight despite his new look on life. Yes, they went more comedic than the tongue in cheek that Hornet was on 60s TV, but they still manage to keep that pulp feel amist all the goofball laughs of a party animal turned superhero. Rogen works as how everyday joe would react to this wild and amazing world they create and connects us to that wonder.

Jay Chou is the real hero here. His understated presence as the sidekick really works for his presence and delivery. Much like his character, Chou plays his part like he is the lead. The action, the stunts, the car, its all Kato’s headline. Chou’s fighting is awesome, and I would have loved a movie where Kato was featured more.

Gondry does a good job making the toys a big part of the film too. Its not just Hornet who has the fancy gadgets, but even the villain and his tricked out double barel pistol elevates this to a more disbelief suspending fun feel.

THE BAD

Christoph Waltz could have been better. He was an effective self absorbed deadpan funny kind of villain, but he could have been more of a grounding factor to this movie having a REAL villain to contrast Rogen’s goofy Hornet. I was indifferent about his performance. He did what he was supposed to really well, I just wanted to see something more from him.

The action is still a good part of this film, but I could have done without the repated image effect and quite so much slow-motion shots. Those moments actually took me out of the scenes where there was some great action going on. It was a nice effort to do something different, but it doesn’t work.

And Cameron Diaz, aside from looking deliciously hot added nothing more to the movie. Her character was fluff, and the film would not have changed one bit without her. She played a part in the plot, but that could have been a faceless nobody secretary. Almost a shame that they hired a known actress for the role then didn’t add much useful for her in the movie.

Rogen’s fingers were too deep in this pudding and the idea that Green Hornet gets all the attention so Kato can do his thing was felt stronger in the movie as most of the film was Rogen-centric. One of the pitfalls of being so deeply involved in the writing, producing and starring is that you forget other people are in the movie. There could have been more of a balance here.

OVERALL

I think despite the oddball casting and comedic approach to the Green Hornet, I still feel this manages to be a fitting tribute to the source material, which in itself was campy and light. Sure, they could have gone Nolan gritty dark with it, but then the parallels to “millionaire playboy becomes gadget superhero of the night” thing would have been that much more obvious.

It was a lot of brainless fun, and a good time to be had. I wanted to love this movie but the more I saw seemed to lessen my enthusiasm. I didn’t want a goofball stoner comedy mixed in with Green Hornet, but in the end that chocolate works pretty well in my peanut butter.

I give Green Hornet a 7 out of 10

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12 thoughts on “Review: Green Hornet

  1. I finally got to see this and was disappointed. Here, The Green Hornet is a self-absorbed jerk who seems more like an attention whore than a hero. The villain is ridiculously whiny and it was a waste of money to hire Cameron Diaz for no apparent reason other than she’s Cameron Diaz. Like the review said, her part is all fluff. There are some fun moments along the way, but not nearly enough to outweigh the bad.

  2. Nice review. I want to see the movie, but have a huge fear that it’s going to be terrible. So your review is a bit of a relief. I know the movie has a history of being mired in production problems for quite a few years and have just feered that they would be unable to deliver a quality picture.

  3. I frankly felt like the movie was an abomination. Rogan was completely despicable and Kato flat insulted the man that saved him and gave him a job for five years.
    There was not a single likeable person in the movie that was already hurt by terrible, flat jokes and poor, repetitive action.
    Furthermore, this really seemed like more of an insult to the source material. That was campy only because of the time it came out in. It had to have the lame music and awkward action scenes, but not only were they limited by their technology they were limited by the time in which the original t.v. was released. The actual stories of those shows were hard hitting. Look back on them now, some serious stuff in those. This movie captured none of that, despite the several homages (that were, when singled out, quite good).

    1. I agree, the shows were not Batman and Robin. They weren’t funny nor were they meant to be. They had a serious tone to them. I can’t speak for the radio serials that came before the tv show but the storylines of the tv program were adult themed. The fight scenes could have been better but Bruce was told to slow down because they were having a hard time capturing all his movements on film. Bruce’s stuff is still bad ass though.

    1. I saw this film in 3-D and I can tell you, it was worthless. So if you plan to see it, stick to 2-D because you won’t be missing anything. That’s what I would have preferred to do myself, but unfortunately the theater I go to isn’t showing The Green Hornet in 2-D, only 3-D.

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