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Movie Review: The Green Hornet

Jordamus Prime 01/17/2011 Reviews

Seventy-five years ago in 1936, the world was introduced to pulp hero The Green Hornet.  Since his debut as a radio-serial back in the 1930’s, the Green Hornet has appeared across a wide variety of media including several film serials and comic book series in the 1940’s, as well as a television series in the 1960’s. Flash forward to 2011, where The Green Hornet is making his triumphant return to the silver screen. While this new vision of the Hornet might not be what people were expecting, it’s certainly nothing to scoff at.

While the original series took itself fairly seriously, this new version for 2011 plays as much more of an action comedy. The film stars A-list comedic actor Seth Rogen as our titular hero, millionaire playboy Britt Reid, alongside the fantastic Jay Chou as his sidekick Kato. The Green Hornet and Kato decide that they will pose as villains, so that they can fight organized crime from the inside out. Unbeknownst to them, all of the crime in LA is run by one man- Benjamin Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz); an megalomaniacal Russian gangster who just wants to be feared and respected. Thus, plot ensues, as The Green Hornet and Kato do their best to take down Chudnofsky and make the world a better place.

Jay Chou and Seth Rogen as Kato and The Green Hornet

Jay Chou and Seth Rogen as Kato and The Green Hornet

The movie felt like it was trying to be too many different things at once. It wanted to be part superhero-action-movie, but it also clearly wanted to be a buddy-comedy-movie. In a way, the audience is getting it’s first real taste of a superhero bro-mance comedy; which is actually kind of awesome. It’s kind of like an amalgamation of Pineapple Express and Kick-Ass with a little dash of James Bond thrown in for good measure. When the film works, it really works well; but there are quite a few plot holes and it feels overall clumsy.
Rogen, who also co-wrote the film with Evan Goldberg, comes off as a very natural Britt Reid; a generally likeable guy that clearly wants to do good but is just too lazy to try. His father dies rather early in the film, setting off a short lived chain of events that lead to Britt deciding that he wants to become a hero; although not for the reasons you’d think. While many comic book films try to be dark and brooding revenge stories, The Green Hornet is largely based in a world of mild realism. Britt Reid doesn’t decide to become a superhero to avenge his father’s death, he decides to become a superhero because he has the time, he has the money, and it seems like a cool thing to do at the moment. Rogen plays the role he’s written himself into perfectly.
Seth Rogen as The Green Hornet

Seth Rogen as The Green Hornet

The real star of the film is Jay Chou’s Kato, being superior to Rogen’s Hornet in every way imaginable. Early on Chou said that he didn’t want to try to be Bruce Lee, he wanted to do his own take on Kato, and he succeeded in a grand style by making Kato the most enjoyable part of the film. Kato is more or less a ’human Swiss Army knife’; just when you think he can’t get any better, he does something amazing. The action sequences filmed in ‘Kato-Vision’ were easily the best part of the movie, and almost make you forget how unnecessary re-rendering the film into 3D was. Cameron Diaz also makes an appearance as an uninteresting and vastly unneeded love interest. As much as the writers tried to make her a necessary part of the story, she just felt like she was in the way most of the time and didn’t quite fit the role she was meant to fill.
Christoph Waltz’s villain Chudnofsky felt very under used and mildly underdeveloped. Waltz seemed like he was trying to perform his character from Inglorious Basterds, except, you know, as less of a Nazi. He came off sort of like ‘Hans Landa light‘, which isn‘t really that great. He clearly had a lot of fun in the role, as you can tell from the first scene he appears in (also featuring an unaccredited cameo by James Franco!), but he came off as just a little too campy; though I will say that his double-barrel pistol was one of the coolest realistic movie weapons I’ve seen in recent years. The fault can’t entirely be placed upon Christoph Waltz though; he did what he could with the role that was written. Initially the role was written for Nicolas Cage, but Cage bowed out at the last minute and Waltz stepped in to fill the role as best he could.
Christoph Waltz as Chudnofsky (With a SWEET Double Barrel Pistol!)

Christoph Waltz as Chudnofsky (With a SWEET Double Barrel Pistol!)

As a whole, the film is pretty enjoyable and entertaining. If you’re a fan of buddy comedies or action movies, The Green Hornet will likely hit the right notes for you.  I’d definitely say to check the film out at some point, although I would also recommend passing on the 3D option; it doesn’t add anything to the film and is in no way worth the extra cost.

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About The Author

Hailing from Northeast Philadelphia, Jordan DesJardins is what many would call a "Geek". An avid collector of both comic books and action figures, Jordan can often be seen at comic conventions or scouring the city for the latest Transformers to hit the shelves.

  1. Skott of Fables 01/16/2011 at 10:31 pm

    Good to know. The early trailers for it looked horrible but the more recent ones looked much better.

    I don't understand, though, why suddenly our comic book movies have to be comedies. This and with what's his face in Green lantern acting like a fool…and I can tell Thor is going to have a smart alec attitude, I don't get it.

    I think the only thing I'd take issue with here is calling Rogen an A-list comedic actor, lol, he honestly hasn't done anything I've liked yet, lol, but that's just me and my opinion.

    This is the type of review I've been waiting for. I will make plans to go see it soon (tomorrow I'm seeing Scott Pilgrim in the Historic Michigan Theatre in Jackson, Michigan) and maybe next weekend check out Green Hornet (and no, I won't be seeing the 3D version. I just want a good action movie and this sounds like exactly what I'm looking for)

    Great review! and Thanks!

    • Jordamus Prime 01/16/2011 at 10:35 pm

      I only say he's an A-list comedic actor, because technically he's been elevated to the hollywood A-list, if that makes sense. Rogen is by no means one of my favorite actors, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I generally enjoy his work.

      The movie overall was clumsy, but generally enjoyable. I'll probably pick it up on blu-ray when it comes out. Once again though, avoid paying the extra to see it in '3D', it didn't transfer well and there are MAYBE two scenes that actually look 3D at all.

  2. Chase 01/17/2011 at 8:30 am

    Nice review! I agree that Kato was full of awesomeness!

  3. Crimson Blur 01/17/2011 at 11:51 pm

    I'm waiting to see the movie before I read this, but just so you know… I'm excited for your review!

    • Jordamus Prime 01/18/2011 at 9:21 am

      @Crimson Blur Just a heads up, my review is generally spoiler free! I try not to give away too much when I review things becuase I hate when reviewers spoil major plot details. Anything I mention in here could have been determined by watching the movie trailer tbough.

  4. Andy Kirby 01/19/2011 at 4:11 am

    Just an interesting choice for the lead…but i'm told it works

  5. Robb Orr 01/19/2011 at 1:11 pm

    Well after all the delays at least this movie finally made it to theaters. I have been curious about how it would turn out for some time. Thanks for the article!

  6. Brandon 05/09/2011 at 1:45 pm

    The movie was alright. I found Seth Rogens to be unbearable to watch at times. It's a typical role he always plays, a 29 year old child. There was a lot of plot holes. I was upset about the villain not being in the movie with a bigger role. With all that being said Kato was the best part of the movie. The movie is what it is. Kato awesomeness and Rogens one liners throughout the entire movie.

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