Saturday, August 6, 2016

Movie Review: "The Green Hornet" (2011)

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Movie"The Green Hornet"
Director: Michael Gondry
Year: 2011
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 59 minutes

Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is the unmotivated, disappointing heir to his father's valuable newspaper and massive fortune. After his father died unexpectedly, Britt winds up joining forces with his dad's former assistant Kato (Jay Chou) as the two of them become masked vigilantes who fight crime by posing as criminals.

"The Green Hornet" is directed by Michel Gondry, who is best known for his surreal sci-fi romance "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." It is written by regular collaborators Seth Rogen and Evan Green, and is based on the radio and television show of the same name. Rogen also stars in the film as the titular Green Hornet, known by day as Britt Reid. Joining him is Jay Chou, who plays Reid's partner in crime fighting Kato, a mechanical wiz and a martial arts master. Kato was fired by Britt at the start of the film, only to be asked back when Britt throws a tantrum because his cup of coffee isn't the way he likes it. Christoph Waltz plays the film's antagonist Chudnofsky, a crime boss who runs every criminal organization in Los Angeles. Chudnofsky has a bit of a complex and reacts poorly when anyone claims he isn't scary. Also rounding out this cast are Cameron Diaz as Britt's research assistant Lenore, Tom Wilkinson as Britt's father James, Edward James Olmos as Axford, and David Harbour as district attorney Scanlon.

With a relatively good cast of pretty big stars, it might be hard to see what went wrong for "The Green Hornet." This is a highly stylized, big Hollywood action comedy, which could be seen as unfamiliar territory for director Michel Gondry, who is known for making smaller, lower budgeted quirky independent films. We're thinking he should have stuck to those types of movies. In order to fulfill his more action-centric role, Seth Rogen lost 30 pounds to play the crime-fighting Green Hornet. He handles the role of an unfiltered, obnoxious, spoiled playboy decently, though this is not a huge stretch for Rogen. Jay Chou does a solid job filling a role once played by the late, great Bruce Lee, though Chou's Kato now gets a lot of assistance from modern special effects and CGI to appear as a bad ass martial artist. We very much enjoy Christoph Waltz as an actor and he almost always makes a good villain, but he just doesn't fit here. Waltz is so much better than this. He beckons to be a Hans Landa-type of character, not a spineless, very unsure, extremely touchy, insecure, not at all threatening Chud-turned-Blood-nofsky. That's the joke, that his villain is not scary enough, and it's totally true! Some aspects of his character which are intended to be funny, but they just aren't, and much of his character feels corny to boot.

This movie has a decent amount of style, a lot of which is simply too over-the-top. The CGI makes it feel bloated and actually kind of pointless. Who wants to watch a movie where the ass-kickers are aided by CGI to do the ass kicking?! It's a little too filler-filled at times, which is a shame because we like the idea of "The Green Hornet." It could be the film feels miscast with Rogen at the helm and with Waltz virtually underutilized. Even with a more svelte body, Rogen can't overcome how out of place he looks within the context of this story. Jay Chou is a better fit, but we don't really buy Rogen and Chou as friends and partners. We wouldn't mind seeing this movie remade later on down the line provided the effects get toned down and they cast it right. Though "The Green Hornet" does have a few laughs and the action is decent from time to time, there is a high level of wanton destruction and feels like all flash, no substance. The script could be tightened up a lot, but in the end, at least it's more fun than not.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 43%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Mr. Holmes"

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