Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Green Hornet

Going into it, I was expecting the worst; half-ass at best. Reading some of the other reviews, I would have thought it wasn't even worth seeing, but honestly I thought it was a lot of fun!

The story: Bret Reid (Seth Rogen), inheriting a surprisingly vast fortune and becomes owner of a newspaper (ok, he's owner of the newspaper, but how could he possibly have THAT kind of mansion? I mean, it's a newspaper! Was this set in 1996?) after his father's untimely death, wants to do something with his life but doesn't know what. Enter Kato(Jay Chou) and his amazing kung-fu and car making abilities! So he decides to use his great wealth and Kato's everything else to become a badass superhero. Antics and car chases ensue.

A lot of people were wondering about the choice of Seth Rogen as the Green Hornet, and I can't help imagine what would have been if they had used more of a straight laced character, but I was still really entertained by Rogen's performance. It was an interesting story choice for a character who's basically Batman but if Robin had all the abilities and Batman just said "I'm Batman!" all the time. Jay Chou did a great job as Kato; He was funny and a great martial artist.

The main baddie(Christoph Waltz) was pretty funny in his own right. He was interesting and fairly believable as a villain whose ruthlessness gets more psychotic over time as his criminal organization gets taken down buy a chubby lovable guy in a green mask. They had some great surprise performances by James Franco and Edward James Olmos, but the real unexpected twist is Cameron Diaz.

I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't know she was in the movie because they barely advertised her at all. I think she might have been in one 2 second scene in the trailer but they were really misusing her star power. She's suposed to be the main girl who comes between Green Hornet and Kato. You have to wonder, if they weren't going to market her, why would they even put her in the movie? They could have just as easily used some pretty unknown. It's weird to think just ten years ago they would have advertised the crap out of her. Hell, half the poster would have been Diazed. But however much they regret using her, she did a stand up job in the part. It wasn't overly sexualized and she doesn't provide the role of "girl who just stands there and looks pretty". Also the end didn't turn out as romantically as I would have guessed, so that's a plus.

The fight scenes and car chases were action packed and great to watch. Whenever they'd get into a fight, Kato would go into "Kato kick-ass" mode(and the Green Hornet would go into "Seth rogen comedy relief" mode). I almost wish they used that strange visual style more throughout the movie, but it was enjoyable while it lasted. And if you're a fan of graphically amazing opening credits, stick til the end because the end credits really shine.

I have to say, for a PG-13 superhero movie based on a pulp icon not scene since the campy "batman shark repellant" days, the actual death toll was pretty huge. Sure there's not a lot of blood, but there's a good 20-30 dead bodies there when you think about it! But Bret and Kato are no goody goody types and I'm pretty happy to see a hero who's not afraid to shed some blood in this day and age.

The story was pretty straight forward, and most of the major plot twists you can see coming a mile away, but it's still an incredibly enjoyably film. I should mention I saw it in 2D, so I can't say anything on how good the 3D transition is. Overall I'd give it a solid 43 out of 54. I'd be willing to see it at least two more times. Recommended for anyone who's a fan of Seth Rogenesque comedy, kung fu action, and crazy car chase shoot outs.

The funnest trailer ever:

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