BOX OFFICE REVIEW: The Green Hornet
Seth Rogen and Jay Chou ready for action...
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This isn't your father's Green Hornet.
More a "re-imagining" than a true remake or reintroduction, The Green Hornet is directed by Michel Gondry, written by Rogen with help from Evan Goldberg and stars Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz and Christoph Waltz.
Millionaire playboy Britt Reid (Rogen) doesn't have a care in the world...until his father dies and leaves him a fortune and a newspaper to run. Soon, Reid begins to see how crime is affecting his town and decides something must be done. With help from his father's former mechanic, Kato, and his new secretary, Lenore Case, Reid becomes the Green Hornet and fight crime.
There's something about Seth Rogen movie goers either really really love or really really hate. Rogen's got a unique sense of humor that's one part Mary Jane, one part Scotch, and two parts super hero. Considering the guy has stared in what I consider some of the most hilarious comedies of the last few years - including The 40 Year Old Virgin, Superbad, and Pineapple Express - it's safe to say fans who apprecaite this brand of childish, immature and inappropriate sense of humor, writing, and acting will appreciate The Green Hornet.
Again, this isn't your father's Green Hornet.
While the film itself is often times outright ridiculous and unrealistic, there's something invigorating about watching Reid - a slacker and immature, childish brat - grow, mature, and take on the mantle of the Green Hornet. That said, while Rogen's Reid is truly the heart of the film, it's Jay Chou's Kato who's the soul. Truly a scene stealer if there ever was one, viewers can't help but gawk - astonished and dumbfounded and much like Reid - at the sheer awesomeness of this Taiwan-born musician and actor's on-screen performance. He agilely kicks and punches his way through waves of criminals and holds his own with veteran Hollywood actor Rogen as the two spar - both with words and fists - numerous times throughout.
Together, the pair make for an exceptional duo, Rogen the comic relief to Chou's straight man. The pair's cooperation and competition makes for great entertainment - often at the expense of Chou, whose speed, agility, and poise make him the perfect Kato. Likewise, both men fighting for one another against criminals while fighting each other for Lenore Case's affection and attention makes for some downright laugh-out-loud moments.
Director Michel Gondry - whose previous work includes Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep, and Be Kind Rewind - does a solid job here, though at times it seems he steps aside, allowing writer/actor Rogen to take the helm and lead. While not necessarily a bad thing, Gondry's true skills aren't highlighted here (as they were in films like The Science of Sleep and Eternal Sunshine).
With a great cast - including Cameron Diaz and Christoph Waltz - one would expect better supporting acting. Of course, with this plot, it's hard to find it, though that's not to say they're not worth watching. As Reid's secretary and supporting character Lenore Casem, Diaz does a decent job, though her role seems almost unnecessary at times. While mostly eye candy for viewers, Case's true merits lie in her ability to cause Reid and Kato to argue over her attention, giving rise to some of the most entertaining and hilarious moments in the film.
Likewise, Waltz, who's coming off of his Oscar win for Inglorious Basterds, should be looking for bigger and better roles than this, though everyone needs to pad their resume with something. As the villainous and somewhat creepy criminal boss Chudnofsky, Waltz does what he can with what the character and story present...it's just a bit hard to watch one of the greatest villains in film history (Col. Hans Landa) play a no-name, forgettable character like this.
While it may sound like I'm bashing the film (and I am a little), overall, I found The Green Hornet to be obnoxious, crass, hilarious, and overall one of the most entertaining action comedies I've seen in a long time. While maybe not the same masked crime fighter our parents and grandparents grew up with, I'm thankful for the immaturity Seth Rogen brings to this new, re-imagined Green Hornet.
The Green Hornet is rated PG-13 for sequences of violent action, language, sensuality and drug content and is playing everywhere now.
- Jess C. Horsley