Green Hornet

The Green Hornet

Director: Michel Gondry
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, and Christoph Waltz.
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Runtime: 119 mins. Reviewed in Nov 2011
| JustWatch |
Rating notes: Action violence and coarse language

This movie is a film version of the American fantasy hero and masked vigilante, The Green Hornet, who was first created in 1936 by George Trendle and Fran Striker for radio. So popular was the series that the Green Hornet and his adventures have been serialized on radio, film, television, and have appeared most recently in comic book form. This film brings the super-hero to the cinema screen more than 70 years after the series first appeared.

Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) finds himself thrust into serious responsibility after his wealthy father, a newspaper owner, dies unexpectedly. Britt takes over his father’s business. He has been a wayward son, not well regarded by his father, and he teams up with his newspaper employee, Kato (Jay Chou) to prove himself worthy of the memory of his dead father. Britt wants to show he is capable of doing well. Kato has great martial arts skills and he and Britt join forces as vigilantes to fight corruption in the city of Los Angeles. Along the way, Britt hires a clever, attractive secretary, Lenore (Cameron Diaz), and the three of them become a thorn in the side of the city’s major crime boss, Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), who heads up Los Angeles’ criminal underworld. Lenore, who doesn’t know the identity of the Green Hornet, tries to anticipate what he might be doing next, and Britt and Kato enjoy following, and acting out, her predictions. Like Bat Man, the Green Hornet uses a trusty, special effects car, nicknamed Black Beauty, which is constructed by Kato. The car is virtually invincible, and like the Batmobile, is full of gadgets and able to launch missiles. Chudnofsky tries to eliminate the Green Hornet, and after a lot of effort, he gets his punishment in a gruesome scene, where he is pierced through both eyes.

For film versions of popular comic book series, the trend in modern cinema is for the films to show violence wherever and whenever they can. This movie does precisely that. Violence is up front right from the start. There is also heavy portrayal of drugs, and sex, and a lot of coarse language throughout. If any children manage to escape the scrutiny of their parents, they will be exposed in this film to drug-taking, violent crime fighting, killing, crudity, and very coarse language. There is a fun element to much of the aggression, of course, and there is a tongue-in-cheek flavour to a lot of the film’s scenes, as well as attempts to parody super-heroes. For the most part, however, the aggression and the destruction never seem to let up.

The film is visually entertaining and inventive at times, and they are some good special effects. The tip-trucks led by Chudnofsky that bury Black Beauty provide excitement, but one has to wait for the good moments to occur. Car chase sequences create incredible carnage, and the slow-motion camera effects don’t work. This is a film in which the three main characters (the Green Hornet, Kato, and Lenore) are miscast. Only Chudnofsky emerges in the movie as an interesting character. Rogen is a very good comedian, but his constant comic patter is not at all suited to this kind of film, Diaz struggles with her role, and Chou looks almost totally uninvolved for most of the time, except when he is forced to look after the Green Hornet, who keeps getting into trouble.

The film was made for 3D release, but it is also out in 2D format. Either version will do. This may not be an enjoyable film for those adults, who have fond memories of The Green Hornet, and the film is very unsuitable for children.

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