THE GREEN HORNET MOVIE REVIEW By Bill Bonfanti
8 out of 10
Believe me I m just as surprised as you are by how high I m scoring The Green Hornet. Ever since seeing the trailer for the first time months ago, I ve expected this film to be garbage of epic proportions. I m here to tell you I was completely wrong and delighted to be so. The Green Hornet is a hugely fun, action filled romp that never takes itself too seriously. I know that sometimes lowered expectations for a film can make it seem better than it actually was (and that might slightly be true in this case), but I truly enjoyed most of the movie. It does sag under its own weight for a little while in the middle, but for the most part, Seth Rogen and friends have done the impossible; create a superhero comedy hybrid that works well on both levels. From the outside, I felt the biggest deficit The Green Hornet hadwas the casting of Seth Rogen as the titular hero. The idea of him portraying an action hero seemed ludicrous at best. Once seeing the movie however, my opinion has shifted 180 degrees and I now realize that he is the only reason the movie works at all. Rogen brings great energy to the role of Britt Reid and makes him extremely likable even though he is in reality a spoiled brat who has daddy issues. His character is so excited and full of glee each time he embarks on a mission the feeling is contagious. The script written by Rogen and Evan Goldberg (the pair also wrote Superbad and Pineapple Express) is smartly written and fully explains how a guy who looks and acts like Rogen could become a butt-kicking (sort of) crime fighter. The truth is the real ass-kicker is the Hornet s employee/partner/sidekick Kato played by Taiwanese pop-star Jay Chou. As unlikely a pairing as it is, Chou and Rogen have really terrific chemistry together on screen, much like the cool interaction Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan shared in Shanghai Noon. The best and silliest parts of the film are when the duo are getting to know one another and start prowling the streets for crime (especially a bit part with the two singing Gangsta s Paradise while driving around). These scenes allow the first third of the film to unfold rather seamlessly and effortlessly and make it easy to ignore how ridiculous the plot of the movie truly is. The plot is basically that fabulously rich, eternal party boy Britt is seen as a world class disappointment by his father, the ethical owner of a newspaper, James Reid (an appropriately stuffy Tom Wilkinson). When the old man suddenly kicks the bucket, Britt inherits his father s newspaper (and empire) and has the sudden realization that he has been squandering his life. He meets his father s assistant Kato and upon realizing that Kato is a skilled mechanic/inventor with a penchant for creating super cool gadgets and weaponry for muscle cars, Britt convinces him they should team up to become crime fighters.
The film is directed by Michel Gondry, best known for his sublime work on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and this perhaps was the greatest mystery of all to me before seeing the film. I couldn t understand why or how a quirky talent like Gondry would ever be interested in making a big budget superhero film. It turns out, Gondry delivers big time. The action in the film is totally ridiculous but he keeps a tight rein on it, never allowing it to go too far over the top. In this day in age where most action directors (cough, cough, Michael Bay) stage action sequences that are barely decipherable, Gondry never loses sight of showing us (the viewers) exactly what is going on. The coolest little trick Gondry employs is what the director refers to as Kato-vision. In these moments, the audience gets a peek inside Kato s mind as he plots out his every kick, punch and flip before actually doing them. It is a nifty little novelty very much like what Guy Ritchie did in Sherlock Holmes, but Gondry takes it to a more stylized level. As enjoyable as the film is, there are a few deficits. The second act of the film becomes mired down by a fall out between Britt and Kato that doesn t feel organic. Their bromance is interrupted due to romantic complications with Britt s new secretary, Lenore Case played by Cameron Diaz. Diaz doesn t have that much screen time and I initially wondered what attracted her to the role (other than the paycheck) but Lenore is not your typical female in distress characters that so often populate superhero films. Never once is Lenore in mortal peril and she also doesn t egregiously fall in love with Rogen much to the filmmakers credit. As the main villain in the film Chudnofsky (later known as Bloodnofsky), Christoph Waltz displays none of the quiet menace that he so ably brought to his role in Inglorious Basterds. His performances is a bit campy, bordering on cliché, but to the actor s credit, he never actually crosses the line. None of this really matters though because you will either be drawn into the film by Rogen s enthusiasm or you won t enjoy one second of the movie. Hate it or love it, there is little room in between for The Green Hornet. Another problem with the film is the poor 3D conversion done to the film. If I wasn t wearing the annoying glasses, I don t think I would ve even known the film was being shown in the third dimension. Save your money and see the 2D version instead, that is if you have the option (I didn t). All in all, I was extremely surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. If you are a fan of superheroes, action movies and Seth Rogen, I highly recommendThe Green Hornet.