Green Hornet, The (2011)

March 22, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

In an industry that churns out dark, brooding, muscle-bound superheroes every other year, the Green Hornet switches up the beat at just the right time. Making an odd combination, Seth Rogen and Michel Gondry fuse their talents to produce an oddly entertaining action pop-corn flick. Utilizing the talents of Gondry, with his whimsically creative cinematic vision, and Rogen, with his slacker-style comedy, the film rests upon the strengths of the creators, making for a highly enjoyable ride in the tricked out Black Beauty.

Gondry, director of Science of Sleep and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, lends his surreal, fantastical eye to this offbeat superhero flick. There are many moments of unorthodox flare that make certain parts of the film visual eye-candy. He uses a time lapse, a horde of split-screens, and slow-mos all in Gondry-style. Although Gondry tones himself down, there are certain parts where he’s unplugged; for example, a wonderfully done montage to make the “piecing the puzzle” scene more interesting by way of what plays out like a cinematic scrapbook. Not to mention, the action scenes are hyper-realistic junk food that hit the spot more often than not. Kato kicks ass, and we get to see everything from his mindset, targeting the threats in red like the terminator and disposing of them.

Seth Rogen as a superhero doesn’t quite work on paper no matter how you look at, and he doesn’t play the role of Britt Reid as a typical super hero. Rogen approaches the role from the strength of his comedic side, and inserts moments of heroism, but it’s refreshing to see a superhero that’s cracking jokes left and right.  Kato, played by Asian pop-star Jay Chou, meshes well with Rogen as Britt Reid. Chou is slick, quiet, and dangerous as Kato, and distances himself from Bruce Lee’s version of Kato by his comedic interactions with Britt. The duo works because they have a brotherly interaction in which they argue and scuffle, yet truly look out for one another. Christoph Waltz as Chudnofsky/Bloodnofsky is on cruise control playing a vicious villain in a slight mid-life crisis. In addition, there are also a couple of cameos that are wonderful.

It’s not a film that many will remember down the road, and it’s not exactly a groundbreaking superhero film; however, the Green Hornet is pure entertainment. The gadgets, the mostly humorous rapport between Rogen and Chou, and the violent cartoon action make for a fun, brainless journey. Britt and Kato become two gents that you wouldn’t mind partying with, taking care of some crime in between time.

Potential Drawbacks:

The film doesn’t even attempt to escape the usual clichés of the superhero plot, and nothing is truly surprising about where the film goes story-wise. The transition from regular joes to heroes is a bit contrived, as we never really understand why Britt and Kato decide to take on criminals for a living. The death of James Reid? Nope. Was it boredom? Maybe.

The Green Hornet is filled with comedy, and most of the jokes hit their mark, but the film overall may be too funny. There are barely any heroic moments, and Rogen isn’t exactly Michael Keaton in Batman. In addition, there’s no real danger that the superheroes face, and no sense that they anyone is in great peril.

Overall, the film doesn’t quite feel like a superhero flick; it feels like a story about two guys attempting to be superheroes in comedic fashion. There’s also the chance that Rogen’s character may get annoying because, although he’s funny,  he truly is a talentless slacker in the film.

Film Recommendations:

True Lies
Shoot Em’ Up
Be Kind Rewind

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