When I first heard they were making a movie of The Green Hornet, my mood was ambivalence. The character never really meant that much to me as a kid, but maybe someone could make a cool action flick out of it. Then when I heard it was going to be written by and starring Seth Rogen, I decided right then and there that this would be a horrible flick, being no fan of Seth Rogen movies. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’d be a fun guy to have a drink with, but he just never won me over with his films. There were rumors of getting Jet Li to play Kato so I thought that might be interesting, but then that fell through and I was back to having no reason to like this idea.
Then the Geeks were invited to a screening. Not ones to say “no” to a free movie, we bought some popcorn and settled back to watch this inevitable train wreck. What I watched instead was a well-done action-comedy that got me to like Seth Rogen and interested me in a pulp comic book character I previously didn’t give two-cents for.
Seth Rogen plays Britt Reid, a slacker rich kid who wants nothing but to have a good time while annoying his newspaper publisher father. When his father is killed by a bee sting, Britt inherits his father’s business, wealth, and mansion. Soon he meets his father’s mechanic (and barista) Kato (Jay Chou) who impresses Britt with his automobile customization and fighting skills. One night on a joyride, Britt and Kato stumble across a couple being mugged and step in to help. Discovering they are pretty good at the whole heroing thing, Britt and Kato decide to make a name for themselves by taking down crime from the inside while using the newspaper to build up their “bad guy”reputations as the Green Hornet and…well, he’s never really given a sidekick name.
If you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve seen the destruction that Green Hornet causes in the streets of L.A. That has always been one of my biggest pet peeves about superhero films. The hero destroys cars, crashes through buildings, leaves bullet holes in every wall, all without seeming to give any thought as to whether the ends justify the means. However in this case it works perfectly. Britt is shown in his party days as having no problem tearing up stuff that isn’t his. He’s rich and someone else will pay for it. In that sense, he doesn’t magically mature when he puts on his mask. He’s still a destructive guy, but at least now he’s doing it for the right reasons in his head. Great powers and great responsibility be damned.
Rogen’s Green Hornet actually seems like the hero that would actually come about if some guy with a child-like sense of justice (I mean that in a good way) took to the streets to fight crime. He’s not a martial artist like every other action star seems to automatically be. He can’t do flips and isn’t a master of parkour. What he is is lucky with his fists. And lucky that he has an expert fighter in Kato at his side. Granted Kato has skills that border on…no, scratch that….that are pretty much supernatural, but hey, I’ve heard tell that once someone is in the zone, it seems like the world around them slows down allowing them to get the upper hand, so I’ll give it a slide.
While the film does have a lot of laughs, the jokes don’t detract from a really fun action film. A lot of those laughs strangely come from Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)as notorious crime boss Chudnofsky. It is often hard to tell whether you are supposed to be scared of Chudnofsky or laugh at him, and that’s what makes him even more frightening. Is he crazy? Did he really just say that? Do I joke with him or…too late, you’re dead. He’s a great character played by a fantastic actor.
When I tell my friends I went to see The Green Hornet, I usually get the reaction I would have given: eh, why? Give it a chance guys. If you are excited about seeing the movie after seeing the trailers, you are really going to love it afterwards. If you are on the fence or even leaning toward the “meh” side, check it out. You’ll find the positive buzz about Hornet is no joke.
Official Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/thegreenhornet/site/