The Green Hornet Review
Ray's Rating: 6/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 6.6/10
(3 reviews total)
Based off the classic radio drama, '60s TV show with Bruce Lee and Van Williams, and 70 years of comic book iterations, The Green Hornet
movie looks to bring this classic character to a new generation of fans.
Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is living a life of debauchery at his father’s expense, a well-respected newsman and owner of the Sentinel newspaper, when his father’s unlikely demise leaves Britt as the sole inheritor of the family fortune and newspaper legacy. Having wasted most of his life, Britt relies on the people around him to help run the newspaper, including new secretary Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz) and his trusted butler and the only man he can trust to make a good cup of coffee, Kato (Jay Chou).
After drinking one night with Kato, Britt’s resentment of his father comes to the surface and so the two set out to desecrate the statue placed at his gravesite. On the way to committing their act of petty vandalism, the two come across a woman being mugged and Kato and Britt jump into action (mostly Kato). It is then that Britt comes up with the crazy idea that he should be using his wealth and Kato’s mechanical savant and martial arts skills to fight crime and clean up the streets in ways his father never dreamed of. Unfortunately for Britt, Los Angeles crime lord Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz) has a few different ideas for how the city should end up being run.
The thing that you have to keep in mind with this movie is that the story is basically an amalgamation of the origin story from those classic radio dramas and the more recent and modernized comic book that has been released over the past year by Dynamite Comics. The origin story basics are mostly kept in tact for Case, Kato, and Reid being a wealthy newspaper mogul, but playing the spoiled son who inherits it from his father is a Dynamite Comics twist.
Purists will be disappointed by the bumbling, goofy, yet well-intentioned Seth Rogen version of Britt Reid who remember the character as a master detective with a genius-level intellect that could hold his own in a fight. But since when are purists ever satisfied with a superhero movie? My problem with Seth Rogen’s portrayal of the character was that whenever there was a punchline for him to deliver as Reid (and there are plenty since Rogen co-wrote the script), he’d break character so instead of trying to show us more of Reid’s personality, it came off as just Rogen telling a stupid joke in a green mask before he could compose himself and start acting as Reid again.
Rogen wasn’t the only eyesore on the screen though as Cameron Diaz as love interest/secretary/aspiring reporter Lenore Case was a joke. Diaz hasn’t been plausible to me as a love interest since The Mask starring Jim Carrey and is probably the most overrated leading lady in the past two decades of Hollywood yet for some reason she keeps being cast. Someone get me Scarlett Johansson, please. Not to mention that the character was poorly written and the banter between her and Rogen wasn’t funny at all. Mind you, as a whole, the movie did accomplish its mission to be a “lighter” and more jovial superhero movie and succeeded in distancing itself from the darker and more serious films that have been the definition of the genre for the last few years.
In fact, most of the movie is actually a lot of fun as the relationship between Britt and Kato makes this feel at times more like a textbook buddy comedy instead of a superhero film. I credit this to the great rapport that Chou and Rogen were able to develop and it made the relationship between Britt and Kato seem a lot more natural than in most other iterations I’ve seen before with these characters.
And speaking of characters, Christoph Waltz is a rising superstar in Hollywood -- he was absolutely brilliant as the villain with confidence issues, Chudnofsky. One second he was cold and calculating and the next he was delivering probably the funniest lines in the entire movie. Every scene he was in is a highlight of the film.
Now, this movie is also another in the long line of 3-D films flooding theaters. But unlike most others, this one did well in keeping the gimmick to a minimum and reserved it for only a few of the action sequences so it wouldn’t jolt you out of the story too much. Of course, it was only used in a few action sequences, because there weren’t as many of these sequences as you would expect from a superhero movie. Again, this is probably because the movie was focusing more on the comedy and plot development than on the actual character and its history.
This extra exposition also made "Hornet" feel about 15-20 minutes too long. The film gets caught up in trying to decide between emphasizing itself as an action movie or a straight-up comedy. Some of the jokes or character development could have been trimmed to help the movie flow a lot better than it did and will probably have you look at your watch a couple times during the more drawn-out scenes. Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Flight of the Conchords), whose best known works are comedies, doesn't seem to be in his comfort zone.
When all is said and done, The Green Hornet ended up being mostly what it had intended to be: a fun, colorful romp that didn’t take itself too seriously. It falls short a little in terms of the acting chops and it could have used a little more action and a little less comedy, but it was a solid movie-going experience that should please fans old and new of the character with its humor and occasional reference to the old 1960s TV series.
The Green Hornet
Directed by Michel Gondry
Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz
Other Player Affinity Reviews
"Sometimes expectations are everything. I had none going into The Green Hornet.
I knew I liked the talent involved and the trailer looked fun, but I really had no prior exposure to the material that would sway my final judgement strongly in one way or another. After venturing to this feature (which was presented in 3D), I caution all those considering their own trip to read the following carefully: this is a comedy. Unlike last year’s RED
which offered a blend of explosions and laughs, this Seth Rogen vehicle does not. Strip away this film’s pyrotechnics and the movie would not suffer, in fact the blend that does exist both bloats the length and makes the narrative often unwieldy; think Pineapple Express
, though not as good. The 3-D illusion adds nothing to the experience, but thankfully it rarely detracts; the cast and script are funny enough (my audience howled throughout) to make this a feature refreshingly out of place in the dumping ground that is January." Rating: 7/10
Steven thought: "Ditto Simon: not having an expectations other than being entertained is a necessity for enjoying Seth Rogen's take on this masked crimefighter. Although there are many weaknesses with the film, it excels at not being serious, almost ever, with the misleading exception of the beginning and any references to Britt Reid's relationship with his father. Basically, The Green Hornet
does an exceptional job of distracting the audience (provided that audience has a goofy sense of humor and an affinity for mindless action) from its flaws and never going so low or cliche as to break that illusion of being entertained effectively. Credit to Rogen and Evan Goldberg for making the action scenes original, which was key in my personal enjoyment. By turning Britt and Kato's relationship into a crimefighting bromance, they also make the characters likable enough (Britt completely sucks, but he's a likable "sucks") to provide movie lovers a nice break from the Oscar buzz that overtakes this time of year." Rating: 7/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 6.6/10