Newest Review: ... in the movie itself. I suggest that you watch this movie by purchasing the DVD so you can check out all the extras that they put on it... more
The Sixties Hero Returns With A Comedic Twist
The Green Hornet (DVD)
Member Name: Dentolux
The Green Hornet (DVD)
Advantages: Some decent car chase scenes, has a number of funny moments, features some cool gadgets
Disadvantages: Fist fights spoiled by slow motion effects, Cameron Diaz doesn't do much, Reid can be annoying
The Green Hornet is a masked crime fighter who first appeared in a 1930s radio show. Most people familiar with the character however recognise him from the sixties TV programme which featured the legendary Bruce Lee as Hornet's right hand man Kato. Supposedly the Green Hornet is a distant relative of the Lone Ranger... I guess having a minority as your side kick runs in the family. I've been watching a lot of super hero movies lately so I decided to give this one a go, especially as it brought something new to the table. Unlike other hero themed flicks the Green Hornet concentrates on comedy over action. Will the decision to go with laughs pay off? Let us find out.
Britt Reid is a male version of Paris Hilton. He spends his time partying it up, doing nothing constructive and spending daddy's mega bucks. Things change when his old man croaks after suffering an allergic reaction to a bee sting. Reid inherits ownership of his father's newspaper The Daily Sentinel which gives him the opportunity to do something worthwhile with his life. After deciding to fulfil a childhood dream to become a costumed hero, he uses the paper to publicize his exploits as the mysterious Green Hornet. Naming yourself after the creature responsible for killing your dad may be in poor taste, but who cares it's a cool moniker as far as hero names go. If you don't like the Green Hornet alias you can buzz off (no pun intended.)
Cleaning up the city streets is a task too big for one nincompoop to accomplish, but thankfully Reid is aided by his employee/best friend Kato. Together they make a formidable team. Kato is a genius when it comes to designing gadgets and martial arts whilst Reid provides the finances and erm... morale support? The duo initially have a blast saving the day and battling crime, but it isn't long before their activities grab the attention of Russian kingpin Benjamin Chudnofsky. How will the fledgling vigilantes cope against the threat of the mobster with the tough to spell surname? Can the odd couple stop arguing amongst themselves to take down the gangster and get away with their lives? Time will tell.
Funny man Seth Rogen, who co-wrote the film, plays the role of Britt Reid aka The Green Hornet. His character is pretty much a buffoon who lets his partner do all the work. I think they may have been playing off the fact that in the sixties TV series Bruce Lee's Kato ended up stealing the show with his flashy fighting skills. Watching the film reminded me a little of the Inspector Gadget cartoons I used to love as a child. The main character stumbles along from danger to danger and gets all the plaudits for a job well done even though the viewer knows that it was the humble side kicks who saved the day. Silly Dr Claw... you could have ruled the world had you ignored the trench coat wearing clown and targeted the dog and lass with the pigtails instead.
Jay Chou who plays Kato is the straight man of the group. Reid provides the comic relief whilst his Asian partner gets down to business kicking arse and designing weapons like the gas gun the Hornet. The chemistry between the pair is what is meant to carry the movie, but unfortunately they don't seem to gel that well. You'll get some chuckles when the two are interacting, but as far as buddy comedies go their team up doesn't work as well as say Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in Rush Hour. When the jokes work it's good, but when the gags fall flat you'll wish that Kato would dump the annoying Reid who is more of a hindrance than a help in their mission.
Supporting characters include Christoph Waltz as the villain Benjamin Chudnofsky and Reid's secretary Lenore Case played by Cameron Diaz. When we first see Chudnofsky he comes across as a ruthless enemy, but as the film progresses he degenerates into a silly cartoon like character who shoots henchmen due to insecurities that no one fears him. Diaz was alright although to be honest she didn't do much other than create a love triangle between herself, Reid and Kato that didn't go anywhere. With a few small tweaks to the story her character could have been written out of the movie completely. I was surprised that they splashed out the cash to hire Diaz for what was a minor role. A lesser known actress would have sufficed for the part in my opinion.
As someone who has never seen the TV series I cannot hazard a guess as to how a fan of the show would receive this version of the Green Hornet. From what I hear the sixties programme played things straight so I would assume they wouldn't approve of this sillier adaptation of the character. Despite focusing on comedy there is some action to enjoy although the martial arts on display gets ruined by overuse of slow motion effects. Those seeking thrills will probably get more enjoyment from the car chase scenes featuring the Black Beauty. As far as vehicles with gadgets go that thing can give KITT from Knight Rider a run for his money.
In the end The Green Hornet turned out to be a rather uneven film. My rating of the movie kept fluctuating from scene to scene. Something cool would happen and I would consider awarding the film four stars, but then I would start to lose interest lowering the rating to a potential two. On the whole I think the film deserves three stars. It is worth catching on TV if you are fond of Seth Rogen comedies and if you have a passing interest in superheroes. I wouldn't buy the DVD at full price though. If you really want to sample the DVD contents I would suggest waiting for a price drop or renting it. As far as movie heroes go Green Hornet gets a C from me... barely missing out on a "bee" minus.
Summary: A funny super hero caper whose jokes are hit and miss