The Green Hornet

January 18, 2011

The Green Hornet


This film is a superhero film unlike any other.  The superhero isn’t all that much of a hero and the whole plan of becoming a superhero is a plan to be a bad guy.  This film is humorously self aware and deserves recognition for blending the comedic aspects of the film while maintaining an absurd and over the top action vibe going with it.

The story is that of Britt Reid, who, like Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne, has grown up with some luxury, and like Bruce Wayne has had at least a parent die while he was a young kid.  It was a natural death and that isn’t what sets him off, when his father dies twenty years later, that doesn’t set him off, again it looks like a natural death.  There isn’t really anything that sets him off, other then that he hates his father and decides to do some petty vandalism.  While he, and his new friend Kato (who worked on his father’s cars) are cutting the head off of his fathers statue, Britt sees a couple getting mugged and decides to defend them.  Things go extremely poorly, but then Kato steps in and takes everyone out with ease.  Britt decides that they are going to become superheros (or just heros), but they aren’t going to make the classic mistake of being the good guys and then the bad guys can just start threatening innocent people to control them, instead, they are going to pose as bad guys and take down the bad guys.  This works fairly well until Britt’s ego gets in the way, and he and Kato split up.  When the big crime boss contacts the Green Hornet, to take out Britt Reid, Kato is forced with a decision and together they end up taking out the biggest crime boss in LA and a corrupt DA.

The acting in this film works surprisingly well.  Seth Rogen, who seems like a very odd fit for an action superhero sort of film, does a good job as he is a bit of an idiot, and Britt Reid is written as a bit of an idiot.  Jay Chou does a good job as Kato, he doesn’t have great range in his emotion, but the fight scenes are entertaining, and that is enough for this film.  Cameron Diaz, and actress who I really don’t like, is fine in her role.  Christopher Waltz, as the main villain is quite good and plays a needy ego-manic extremely well.  The cast comes together nicely, but none of the performances as all that special, they are simply good enough to make this film.

Michel Gondry, director of Be Kind Rewind and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, does a good job with this film, and you can see the similarities, I feel, between Be Kind Rewind.  The visual effects are fairly solid, but nothing spectacular, which works with Gondry’s style of filming that you really see in Be Kind Rewind, and there are some very absurd scenes as well.  It also channels a bit of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World in that it is aware that it is a comic book/superhero sort of film and Reid has a line that directly references that about being a good guy posing as a bad guy.

This film is worth checking out if you like the slightly less serious sort of action superhero sort of film.  It won’t blow you away with any part of it, but each part is just solid enough to put out a very entertaining movie, and while I’m not a big fan of Seth Rogen (some of his comedies are just too predictable), in this film, he does justice to the Green Hornet.

Entertainment Value: B

Critical Value: C

Overall Value: B-


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