The Green Hornet Review
"The Green Hornet" is the story of the slacker son of a rich guy who dresses up like a superhero in order to do good and make up the years of his life that he's wasted. The plot is as simple as that. And it doesn't need to be any more complicated or complex to ensure a good time at the movies. Does The Green Hornet stack up against the Iron Mans and the Batmans of the superhero genre? No, they don't. But they're not meant to be compared with the heavyweights of the superhero world.
Instead, The Green Hornet is meant to be taken lightly, as what it is, a comedy, with some pretty neat action scenes. And you know what? On those two fronts, the movie delivers.
Whatever you think of Seth Rogen, you can tell that he embodies the spirit of the film, even though it was in development long before he was attached to pen the script and star as the title role. Yes, he's a stoner, a drunk, and a slacker, but hey, that's kind of the role he plays in this. Once you forget about the fact that he's the heir to millions and millions of dollars, a huge mansion and a newspaper empire, you can actually believe him and the character as an every day guy who had just given up on searching for the approval of his stern single father. His line delivery is what you would expect, if you've seen any of his well-known roles in the past such in the 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, etc, and if you're not used to his acting style of basically being himself, his line delivery may be somewhat annoying.
Moreover, you can't blame Jay Chou for being Asian. It's the role, it's who he is and he's really in the film more for his martial arts skills than his acting chops. I wouldn't call his performance cringe-worthy and his accent is actually the source for a few laughs, but you've been warned. You really don't get anything you wouldn't expect from Cameron Diaz, other than the feeling that the only reason she's even in this for name value. Christoph Waltz is also in the film, coming off his amazing Academy Award-winning performance as Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds, and lets loose and plays an equally evil but much more comedic role as the film's double-barrel wielding Chudnovsky. Add in some good supporting performances from Tom Wilkinson, Edward James Olmos, as well as a surprising cameo at the beginning of the film that will remain nameless (hint: he's a good friend of Rogen's) and the acting balances out.
But obviously the film's main attraction is its action sequences. Director Michel Gondry (best known for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind and a slew of music videos) definitely has some skill behind the camera, as the film's visuals are definitely worth checking out. The "Kato-Vision" filming technique does make a valiant effort to try and present something original to the action scenes, and even though it might come off as somewhat unnecessary and unexplainable at times, it is pretty novel and you can't take points away from a director for actually trying something different. Moreover, the third act is basically just a giant chase scene where they destroy everything in their sight, including pretty much an entire high rise and a restaurant. Gotta love that.
We didn't talk much about the source material here, and we realy don't need to. The makers of this film ensure that it has a modern twist on the basic tale of the Green Hornet, which has seen its fair share of incarnations over its near 80 year history, and I actually applaud them for trying to make this somewhat different from the tale we've all heard before, all while keeping the general facts of Britt Reid and his alter ego intact.
If you choose to see The Green Hornet in theaters, you may not laugh the entire time through, and the movie does drag on at times during the second act. Moreover, it might take a little patience to get over the acting in the movie if you're not a fan of Seth Rogan. But the action and chase sequences are definitely something to check out, and the plot actually holds up and manages to escape the pitfalls of the genre that have given us some bad movies in the past. Hey, no one tried to compare this to The Dark Knight, or to Iron Man, or even Kick-Ass. Rogen and co-writer Evan Goldberg, along with Michel Gondry in the director's chair do a good job of making a film that doesn't take itself seriously and ensures that you'll have a good, light time at the theater.
The only thing that almost turned me off from this, however, was what has become the norm in Hollywood these days... completely unnecessary 3D, tacked on to the film after it was shot. It wouldn't be as annoying if there was a 2D version of the film available in the theater I saw the film in. Unfortunately, there was not, and there was no indication that it was only in 3D until I got to the ATM. For that, the movie gets a .5 reduction.
Nevertheless, don't believe the critics, this one isn't as bad as some people may want you to believe, so long as it's taken lightly. The Green Hornet gets a 6.5 out of 10.