PG Cooper: The Green Hornet Review

Posted: January 23, 2011 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

Release date: January 14th, 2011

Written by: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg

Directed by: Michel Gondry

Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz, and Tom Wilkinson

When I first saw the trailer for The Green Hornet, I thought it looked stupid. Then the film came out, and was plagued with bad reviews. But after my initial impression was justified, I suddenly became interested in the film and wanted to see it. I can’t explain why, but I did. Now that I’ve seen it, I can say the film is better than you may think, but make no mistake, The Green Hornet is undoubtedly flawed.

The film starts with a young boy being brought to his father’s office. His father is James Reid (Tom Wilkinson), the publisher of “The Daily Sentinel”, an L.A. newspaper. His son is brought to his office after being sent home from school for being in a fight, defending a girl from some bullies. James yells at his son and rips the head off his favourite toy. Cut to twenty years later and the boy has grown into Britt Reid (Seth Rogen). Britt is a total slacker and constant partying type of guy. But his life is changed when his father dies from a bee sting. After the funeral, Britt meets Kato (Jay Chou), James’ mechanic. Kato shows Britt some inventions, including some advanced James Bond type cars. The two bond over stories of what a dick Britt’s father was and in a drunken state, the two decide to go out in costumes. They end up fighting off some muggers and decide to fight crime every night.

The story is a bit of a mess. There’s a lot of stories going on, some are good, some are bad. Some come to a proper and satisfying end, others don’t. The sloppy story really comes into focus when by film’s end nothing is resolved. It’s clear the script is trying to be more of a comedy with some fun characters instead of an intriguing adventure. On that level, the script is more successful, but ultimately is still flawed. Some of the characters can be really annoying, and others are just flat-out wasted. The humor is also very hit or miss. Sometimes it’s funny, but sometimes it’s really not.

A good super-hero movie is only as good as it’s super-hero. Without a good super-hero, you’re not gonna have much of a story. So how is Seth Rogen as the Green Hornet? Well, he’s okay. There are moments when his character is funny, and Seth Rogen makes him more likable than he really is. But with that said, he is a very selfish and uninteresting character. He’s also very ineffective as a super-hero, but that’s one of the positives about his character; a lot of the film’s comedy stems from how lousy a hero he is. Jay Chou fares better as Kato. Kato is actually a really cool character who is a lot of fun to watch. He makes gadgets, knows martial arts, is a genius, and the man makes a damn good cup of coffee. The two make a fun team and I especially enjoy how Kato, the sidekick, is so much more effective than the Green Hornet.

The rest of the cast is just a collection of wasted talent. The most annoying example of this is Christoph Waltz as the villain. While he has a great introductory scene, for most of the movie he’s written as a joke and fails to be threatening or funny. Waltz does the best he can with the poor material he’s given, but it’s just sad to see him doing such a pathetic role. Cameron Diaz plays a very pointless love interest and in the end has no effect on the film. I also really hate that great actors Tom Wilkinson and Edward James Olmos are brought in and are given absolutely nothing to do. Hell, even Edward Furlong has a brief appearance.

This film was really lucky to have Michel Gondry behind the camera as director. Gondry is known for his lower budget art films (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and I’m sure this was just a job to him, nothing more. That said, he does bring the film up significantly. There’s some impressive camera work here, especially during the fight scenes. In fact, the fight scenes were easily the highlight of the film. Watching martial artists beat the hell out of goons is always entertaining to me. There’s also a unique style to the fights reminiscent to The Matrix.

So I’ve pretty much spent most of my review bashing the film, you may be surprised to hear I liked it. Not a lot, but on the whole it was enjoyable. The film has great pace and is never boring. Whether it be a cool action beat, or some funny interplay between the characters, there’s always something to keep you interested. I can’t really say it’s a good film, but I couldn’t help but enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s stupid. But it’s that kind of harmless, stupid fun. As a rental or a matinée, it works well.

Rating: C

  1. CMrok93 says:

    While The Green Hornet is a passable time killer, film lovers might go into shock that such an unremarkable piece of Hollywood mulch was helmed by French whiz kid Michel Gondry. I wish there was more here, but it was an OK popcorn treat. Good review, check out mine when you can!

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