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Movie Review: The Green Hornet

Prinz Lee image

Prinz Lee wrote this review 5 years ago

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I remember Seth Rogen’s interview on ‘The Howard Stern Show’ back in late 2008 and talking about the ‘The Green Hornet.’ To my shock, it was pretty cool to hear how Executives over at SONY pretty much allowed him to take on the project with lots of confidence and do with it as he “pleased.” Well, maybe not so much as he pleased, but structure it, meet up with them periodically and also green-lit it for him to star in the film as well. The jokes flared back and forth as only one can image while being interviewed by Howard Stern and something that stood out was Rogen’s weight and how they were going to start shooting, January ‘09. (If I may remind everyone, Seth’s always been a bit overweight, and carried it well—I punned) Prior to the interview, there was commotion by cast members of the show mentioning how much weight he had lost, and Rogen adds how he’s got to lose more than he has and recapped some other information about the film and well, here we are literally two years to the month when shooting started and despite cringing feelings from fanboys and news on how Director, Kevin Smith had been tapped to write it, life happens, things unfurl and the final product will hit theaters Friday, January 14th. And In 3D (of course), however in 2D (my screening) as well for those who are looking to keep it within their budget.

‘The Green Hornet’ presents Britt Reid (Rogen) as a spoiled brat. His father, James (Tom Wilkinson) owns ‘The Daily Sentinel’ newspaper among other lucrative outlets, so Britt’s never had to work a day in his privileged life. His crappy attitude isn’t his entire fault; because Britt’s dad’s pretty hard on him. He even decapitated his favorite toy when he was a child. Even so, he’s the king of media and very well respected in the field. When he suddenly passes away, there’s just one person to inherit his powerful empire, Britt. With zippo interest in the world of journalism or working for that matter, Britt decides to kill time by teaming up with his father’s former mechanic and coffeemaker, Kato (Jay Chou), to live on the edge and steal the head of his father’s memorial statue from the burial ground. Just before they can make their getaway, Britt catches sight of a mugging and takes action. Well, not really, because Kato takes care of business while Britt’s pretty much in the way. Regardless of transpires, Britt thinks they make the perfect team and should become masked heroes. (Been there, done that, right?) Britt’s doing it a bit differently no though. He suggests they pose as “villains” so they can topple Chudnofsky’s (Christoph Waltz) LA crime monopoly from within. When they’re not cruising it around in the extreme armed “Black Beauty” and testing out all of Kato’s high-tech weapons, they’re in the office using the Sentinel to glamorize the Green Hornet’s threat. Before they know it, they’re fully involved in a world of crime and corrupt politics.

The verdict on my part is I liked it and think if one opens up and let’s go, they will too. The film is formatted to do what it’s supposed to do—entertain. To a degree, I personally don’t think of Seth Rogen as the type of person to be portraying a hero, however, the way it’s written by Rogen and his boy Evan Goldberg, it does lend to its presentation and I’ll let this one go. Seth’s a pretty intelligent comedic actor and I found it quite enjoyable. Even though I don’t thoroughly remember the original ‘Green Hornet’ to the core, I do recall the show as a kid and remember how they were on a few episodes of the original ‘Batman’ series as well. However, the question is during contemporary times when we’re being smeared with superhero flick after superhero flick, is there anything
NEW this one has to offer? Well, yes and no! ‘The Green Hornet’ is basically a hybrid between flicks like ‘Batman,’ ‘Iron Man’ and to a certain degree, ‘Kick Ass.’ Britt Reid is simply a guy who has nothing better to do with his time or money than party and sponsor Kato’s weapon building abilities. That’s fine—I don’t have a problem with that—but not thoroughly explained to me/the audience where this cash is coming from. Yes, dad’s rich, but zero time is dedicated towards really making that profitable business an element, while on the contrary Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark are heroes, but businessmen as well. I know I was thinking Britt didn’t have to be a FORTUNE 500 Company CEO Type, but something insightful into inheritance would have provided realism.

When the film’s performances came into play, Rogen and Chou are a perfect match. Opposites in-fact DO attract, and watching these two do their thing all over the silver screen was pretty good. Whether they’re fighting or just hanging out, the chemistry is there and endlessly enjoyable. Plus, whether or not the characters were written to extreme, both actors nail their parts. Sadly—and I truly HATED I felt this way—two others who couldn’t overcome some weak writing are Waltz and Diaz. Perhaps it’s just because Waltz’s last villainous performance was so profound, creepy and beyond believable in ‘Inglorious Basterds,’ but as Chudnofsky, he’s not that intimidating. Perhaps this was done on purpose, but Waltz took it pretty easy. Oddly enough, that’s one of Chudnofsky’s shticks. He has a fantastic scene with a younger rival crime boss during which he brands Chudnofsky’s as a “harmless old-timer.” Throughout the film, Chudnofsky is obsessed with making himself appear more frightening and while the game is quite fun, it becomes overkill after a while and that same Academy Award winning artist becomes just another actor. Diaz fairs even worse. In fact, ‘The Green Hornet’ didn’t really need her at all. It feels as though she’s simply there to play the stereotypical “broad” character and nothing more. Naturally, she generates romantic tension, which is actually quite interesting, but the whole concept is so softly resolved, it’s hard not to look back on it all and think, what was the point? Diaz is also lacking her typical spark. She seems entirely disinterested, dull and so out of place. The film didn’t need her at all. Her character, Britt’s new office assistant, Lenore Case, could have served just the same and would have saved the studio money if they would have placed in a mannequin.

Although the film loses its writing edge half way in the film, there is an element to ‘The Green Hornet’ which keeps it alive and overrides all other flaws. The action sequences are pretty cool to watch. Lots of explosions, car chases, tough guy jargon, a pretty cool cameo by James Franco and once again state it’s fun watching Brit and Kato. Where and why this film needed to be in 3D still lingers in my mind seeing as it was just as adventurous and enjoyable in 2D, but in the end, it’s a business. The film’s not meant to be taken serious. If you’re the artsy type looking for an emotional experience, don’t—this isn’t ‘The Dark Knight.’ Credible substance lacks big time, because, the story is quite ridiculous and not every plot point entirely makes sense, but if you’re willing to turn your brain off for a bit and abandon any second thinking, the entertainment value is high.



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