REVIEW: The Green Hornet

15 01 2011

The Green Hornet” is half-heartedly “Iron Man,” half-heartedly “Kick-Ass,” but wholeheartedly a moronic waste.  It’s already begun to fade into the white noise that is the superhero movie genre, which seems to churn out a new entry with every passing minute, thanks to its reliance on the recently popularized “not-so-super” hero.  With a director fully capable of creating something of great artistic merit, writers fully capable of spinning familiar formula into fresh comedy, and stars fully capable of entertaining, the movie is a letdown simply for settling.

The typical stoner/slacker combo that is Seth Rogen remains unflinchingly true to form as Britt Reid, the heir of a media empire thanks to being the son of an incredibly successful newspaper man (Tom Wilkinson).  When his father’s death leaves him a twenty-something orphan, he’s more than a little confused as to how he can reconcile the party and the business.  Britt discovers the incredible hidden talents of Kato (Jay Chou), who can do quite a bit more than make coffee.

Together, they become a crime-fighting team with Britt known as the Green Hornet but Kato doing all the actual fighting.  They masquerade as villains but act as heroes, and their clueless escapades only get attention because Britt uses the newspaper to overhype them.  Otherwise, they would be about as legitimate as the movie’s script, which in its eagerness to take the classic heroes to a new level winds up as a cheap imitation of them.

Christoph Waltz, so frightening as the treacherous Hans Landa in “Inglourious Basterds,” abandons what won him the Oscar for a Snidley Whiplash, cartoonish approach to villainy.  His Chudnofsky fits in well with the ridiculous background of the movie, but it sure leaves one heck of a stain on his filmography.  And while most people would not say this is the first strike against Rogen, it’s the first time that I’ve found his routine getting old.  The same old schtick might be refreshing in a superhero movie had it not been so overdone in his raunchy comedies first or if “The Green Hornet” were released a few years earlier before real actors transformed stock characters into complex ones.

The movie is also a waste of Michel Gondry, who brings his auteurist vision and impressionistic flair to the table.  He does craft some really cool scenes that popcorn-munching multiplexers aren’t accustomed to seeing.  The movie’s visual panache is striking, yet it needed to be overwhelming to atone for all the movie’s jokes that fell flat.  Without a decent script to back up Gondry’s artistic sensibilities, “The Green Hornet” becomes about as worthwhile to watch as a Stanley Kubrick directed episode of “Jersey Shore.”  C



7 responses

16 01 2011
Chris Luby

Just saw it last night at the Alamo Drafthouse and normally I agree with your reviews but I had one heck of a good time watching this movie. The audience was very receptive loud laughter when expected. I thought it was a very fun movie and I left very satisfied with it.

17 01 2011

Maybe it was the booze? My audience – a preview screening, which is normally very receptive – was noticeably silent during many areas where a laugh track would have played in a CBS sitcom.

17 01 2011
Ross McG

think ill pass on this one

17 01 2011
Chris Luby

Na I don’t think so. I went with a bunch of friends who were not partaking in adult beverages.

Its not stellar but its not a C

17 01 2011

I didn’t point to you but the crowd in general. You said the audience laughed a lot, and the audience in my theater didn’t seem to be into it very much.

And maybe I’ll revisit it again on Starz for a different opinion, but until then, agree to disagree.

18 01 2011
Chris Luby

Totally man, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I have a love for super hero’s and geeky crud like this so i’ve got a built in love for this kind of movie.

27 05 2011

I think it’s definitely “geeky crud,” though honestly harmless. It was pretty cool a lot of the time, with some “Scott Pilgrim”-type action but less meta-referential. It’s like Michel Gondry was stuck in some Purgatory between inventive and derivative. Not sure which won out in the end.

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